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Lightning Win

June 9, 2004

This past Monday night, hockey fans here in the Tampa area had reason to celebrate. Twelve years after their NHL debut, the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Calgary Flames 2-1 in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to capture the Stanley Cup.

Dave Andreychuk with the Stanley Cup
Dave Andreychuk hoisted the Stanley Cup on Monday night.

For 40-year-old Dave Andreychuk, the win is especially sweet. The 22-year-veteran played in his first NHL finals this season, and for him to finally have his name etched on Lord Stanley's Cup is pretty sweet.

I had contemplated pulling a "by hook or by crook" to get into the St. Pete Times Forum to be there for the historic Game 7, but discretion lead me to instead enjoy the game from the comfort of my couch. Though had I gone outside the building, I certainly wouldn't have been alone, as there were thousands of fans packed out there. But with it being a work night and all, I opted out of the mayhem.

Meanwhile, the Pistons damn near won two straight in Los Angeles in their NBA Finals matchup with the Lakers. Kobe bailed out the Lakers last night, but the Pistons are giving the Lakers a much tougher fight than many people expected. That stubborn Detroit defense is relentless, and the addition of Rasheed Wallace has helped take Detroit to the next level. And of course Detroit having the chance to deny Karl Malone a championship ring would be really nice...

My parents and sister came to visit this past weekend, which was wonderful. We didn't have just a long time to spend together, but we made the most of it. I took advantage of the opportunity to hit two spots in the Tampa Bay area that I'd long wanted to visit -- Busch Gardens and the Salvadore Dali museum. As an early birthday present, my parents bought me two really nice framed Dali laminated pictures that I now have hanging on the wall in the front room of my apartment (one of them is the Nature Morte Vivante picture that I referenced in my May 31, 2004 commentary).

With Busch Gardens, it was perfect in that the weather was warm but not blazing hot, the lines were short (which let Mary Beth ride many roller coasters without the usual long waits), and the storm clouds didn't hit us until as we were leaving the park (although lightning struck frighteningly close to us as we made our exit). If you go to Busch Gardens, you must take the train ride. It's a great chance to get an up-close look at some of the wildlife that resides at the park. From all indications, the animals are well treated.

And what would a trip to Tampa be without hitting the Columbia Restaurant? I managed to get us booked for a dinner show on Friday night (on just three hours notice), but there were some hilarious moments... like when the waiter made a face when he took away the cooked onions and peppers and what not that I didn't touch on the side of my Filet Mignon (since those items, while tasty, don't sit well with me).

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