Tortorella brings back a relic from the Lightning’s 2004 Stanley Cup season

The former Tampa Bay coach borrows the mantra that was used by the Lightning when it won the Cup.
John Tortorella, right, is providing strategy and motivation for the Columbus Blue Jackets in this series. But 15 years ago this spring he found a rallying point for a Lightning team trailing on the road in the postseason that helped propel Martin St. Louis, left, and Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times
John Tortorella, right, is providing strategy and motivation for the Columbus Blue Jackets in this series. But 15 years ago this spring he found a rallying point for a Lightning team trailing on the road in the postseason that helped propel Martin St. Louis, left, and Tampa Bay to the Stanley Cup. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times
Published April 14

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2004.

The Lightning had blown a one-goal lead in the third period of Game 6 and lost in overtime at Philadelphia, and was now trying to hold on to a 2-1 lead heading into the third period of Game 7.

Then-Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella gathered his team during the second intermission and told the players they should never feel more confident in themselves. Then he pointed to a sign that had been hanging in the Lightning locker room all season long:

Safe is Death

The Lightning went on to beat the Flyers that night, and win the Stanley Cup in seven games against Calgary.

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Fifteen years later, Tortorella is coaching the Blue Jackets against the Lightning in the first round of the playoffs, and guess what sign hangs inside the Columbus locker room?

Safe is Death

It is Tortorella’s message to players that they should always be aggressive and dictate the action while never being afraid to make mistakes.

He was kind of vague talking about it on Sunday, but explained it perfectly during Tampa Bay’s 2004 Stanley Cup run:

“We don’t know how to skate backwards.’’

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