Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Frustrated Lightning fan sets NHL lockout protest Saturday

RECOMMENDED READING


BRANDON — Jay Tregler is such a huge Lightning fan that he has organized two protests against the NHL lockout.

The 39-year-old Seffner resident also said if the league loses a second season in eight years to labor strife, he just might cancel the season tickets he has held since 1996.

And you know what? Some Tampa Bay players said they wouldn't blame him.

"No, not at all," defenseman Sami Salo said Friday after a skate at the Ice Sports Forum. "I feel bad for the fans that they have to go through this again."

"I wouldn't blame them," goaltender Mathieu Garon said. "It must be disappointing."

That disappointment probably heats up today. The Lightning was supposed to open its 20th anniversary season tonight at Florida.

Instead, Salo will be at his son's hockey game, forward Tom Pyatt joked he'll be playing NHL13 online and coach Guy Boucher will be sorting through the information he and his assistants have gathered on opponents.

"We've been looking pretty much at every team's power play and penalty kill," Boucher said. "We've been trying to gather as much information as we could, so basically we're going to have more information than we ever had on our team and the opponents. That's why I don't want this to be a vacation."

•••

So far, the league has canceled the first two weeks of the regular season. That includes four Lightning games, three at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

No formal talks between the league and the players association on a new collective bargaining agreement are scheduled, and more game cancellations are expected next week.

That means between 600 and 800 part-time employees who work at the Times Forum on game days are in limbo, and there's a lot less foot traffic for area businesses.

"It's going to have a big impact," said Dave Mangione, a partner at Hattricks Tavern near the Times Forum. "The games are a huge draw. I'm not terribly upset, but in a month and a half, if this is still going, I will have much more disdain for the situation."

A lost NHL season could cut Hattricks' revenue by 20 percent, Mangione said.

It is a lament Tregler, an IT manager at an electrical supply distributor, took to heart when organizing his fan protest, which starts at 6 tonight at the Times Forum and later will move to the nearby Channelside district, where a dinner is planned to help support eateries that will miss game-day business.

"Just to show somebody does care about it," Tregler said.

•••

It is difficult for Salo to believe the NHL will lose the season to a lockout, as it did in 2004-05. But he knows fans won't care who is at fault if the owners and players can't figure out how to split $3.3 billion in revenue, which is the basic disagreement.

"I've talked to the parents around my kids' hockey and soccer teams, and it's not fun," Salo said. "They're looking at maybe supporting some other sports."

Asked if there is a message he wants to send to fans, Salo said, "That's a tough question to answer. For sure, we feel sorry for the fans, but we can't go with what happened in '04 and let (the owners) dictate everything.

"It's unfortunate, but the NHL chose to take this way, and like (players association executive director Donald Fehr) has said, we could have started the season with the old (agreement) and worked our way into a new one."

That is little consolation for Tregler, who Tuesday sat in his car during his lunch hour to watch ESPN2's telecast of a Russian KHL game on his tablet. He also bought a KHL jersey.

"I'm not spending my money on the NHL," Tregler said. "I like the KHL product, so I'm going to put my money into the KHL right now."

Comments
Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

BRANDON — At one point during Saturday’s game against the Islanders, the Lightning was first in the NHL in points and second in points scored by its defensemen. That’s one reason the team is off to the best start in franchise history.It’s also by des...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Published: 11/19/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Published: 11/18/17
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Published: 11/18/17
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

This is what happens when you have the best record in the league: You get the best from the other team. The Islanders came out strong and the Lightning couldn’t match it, falling behind 4-0 early in the third. For the most part, the Lightning has bee...
Published: 11/18/17
Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

TAMPA — It’s still way early, but if the Lightning’s record start continues, there will be a lot of hardware up for grabs. And we’re not just talking about the Stanley Cup. Nikita Kucherov has league MVP written all over him. Andrei Vasilevskiy coul...
Published: 11/18/17

Red-hot Lightning leading NHL in more than wins

Nikita Kucherov, top left, celebrates with teammate Steven Stamkos (91) after scoring against Florida Panthers goalie James Reimer. [AP photo]The Lightning (15-2-2) enters tonight’s game against the visiting Islanders (10-6-2) leading the leagu...
Published: 11/18/17
Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

Brayden Point becomes ‘the heartbeat’ of the Lightning

TAMPA — A local TV crew set up shop in front of Brayden Point’s locker stall the other day, waiting for the Lightning forward to be ready.Then, captain Steven Stamkos walked into the room for his scrum. It didn’t take long for the TV crew to change c...
Published: 11/17/17
Lightning pummels Stars for fifth straight win

Lightning pummels Stars for fifth straight win

TAMPA — The Lightning welcomed Ben Bishop back with a classy, fitting video tribute in Thursday’s first period. The sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena gave Bishop, the greatest goalie in franchise history, a standing ovation. It was an emotional...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Lightning journal: Specials teams in the spotlight vs. Stars

Lightning journal: Specials teams in the spotlight vs. Stars

TAMPA — C Braydon Point’s shorthanded goal tipped the game in the Lightning’s favor and the three penalties it killed during the second period kept it that way in Thursday’s 6-1 victory against the Stars.Dallas entered the game with an NHL-best 30.2 ...
Published: 11/16/17