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Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer

Damian Cristodero

Damian Cristodero began covering the Lightning for the Tampa Bay Times since 2000. Before that he was the Times' national auto racing reporter, and he also spent a season and a half helping to cover the Rays. His passion, though, is the NHL, and he has covered several Stanley Cup finals and All-Star Games, as well as the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Cristodero grew up on Long Island and worked for Newsday for six years before coming to Florida in 1987. He was the Gannett News Service's Miami-based sportswriter from 1990 to 1994. He joined the Times in 1997. He left the paper in 2014 to relocate to Washington, D.C.

  1. Marty St. Louis' most memorable Lightning moments

    Lightning Strikes

    Former Lightning captain Marty St. Louis announced his retirement Thursday after 16 years in the NHL. Though the 40-year-old did not finish his career in Tampa Bay, where he played the bulk of his 1,134 games and helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup, many fans will remember him best for his time spent here. St. Louis' most memorable Lightning moments:

    1 Back from the brink: St. Louis scored the most important goal in Lightning history when he potted the winner 33 seconds into double overtime for a 3-2 victory in Game 6 of the 2004 Stanley Cup final against the Flames. The win staved off elimination and sent the series to Tampa for a deciding Game 7 that the Lightning won for its first Cup. Not only was the goal in the nick of time, it was brilliant: St. Louis, to the left of the net, lifted a rebound short side and high past goalie Miikka Kiprusoff....

    St. Louis ties a Lightning record with four goals in a ’14 game vs. San Jose.
  2. 6 things to know about the Stanley Cup

    Lightning Strikes

    1. The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy for which professional athletes in North America compete. It was donated in 1892 by Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, also known as Lord Stanley of Preston, who paid the equal of $50 to have it made.

    2. 2,424 names are engraved on the Cup.

    3. The entry for the Lightning's 2003-04 championship team has 52 names, including players, management and staff, tied for third most. Only the 1997-98 Red Wings (55) and 2011-12 Kings (53) have more....

    Getty Images
  3. Where are 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning Stanley Cup champions now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Where are they now?

    Here's a look at where the members of the 2004 Lightning Stanley Cup championship team are now:


    Dmitry Afanasenkov: Not playing; lives in Treasure Island in the summer.

    Dave Andreychuk: Vice president for corporate and community affairs for the Lightning.

    Martin Cibak: Plays for Olomauc HC in the Czech Republic....

    The Lightning gathers on the ice for the traditional group photo after winning the 2004 Stanley Cup with a Game 7 victory over the Flames in Tampa.
  4. Jonathan Marchessault quietly fills his Lightning role (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    NEW YORK — When Jonathan Marchessault was promoted to the Lightning from AHL Syracuse in early April, he immediately searched out his buddy and former Crunch teammate Vlad Namestnikov for a few laughs.

    Marchessault, by his own admission, could get "goofy" in the Syracuse locker room.

    "I just like to joke around, tease everybody," he said. "But when I go to see Vlad and try to mess around, he says, 'We don't do that here.' "...

    Lightning center Tyler Johnson beats Marty St. Louis, left, and Henrik Lundqvist for a shorthanded goal during the first period.
  5. Dominic Moore's Game 1 winner for Rangers beats his old team (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    NEW YORK — Dominic Moore pumped both fists, threw back his head and emitted a mighty roar.

    The Rangers center had just scored the winning goal in a 2-1 decision Saturday over the Lightning in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.

    But that was only part of his ecstasy.

    After losing his wife, Katie, to cancer in January 2013 — and losing the entire 2012-13 season while he cared and then grieved for her — Moore said he relishes every moment on the ice....

    Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) remains down as New York Rangers center Dominic Moore (28) (left) celebrates his goal along with center Derick Brassard (16) and right wing Kevin Hayes (13) making the score 2 to 1 late in the third period of game one of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden in New York Saturday afternoon (5/16/15).
  6. Rays fall to Indians

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Joe Maddon says he is as cognizant of the future during a season as he is of the present.

    In a 162-game season, keeping players fresh is paramount. But that has been tough of late with a bullpen that has been forced to work extra hard because the starting rotation is not eating up enough innings.

    "They are lambasted, I'm telling you, right now," Maddon said....

    Joel Peralta reacts after allowing a homer to the Indians’ Michael Brantley, the first batter he faces, that ties it at 2 in the seventh.
  7. Rays: Maddon's water woes; Loney talks to kids

    The Heater

    Rays vs. Indians

    When/where: 7:10 tonight; Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports 1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tickets: $24-$275, available at Tropicana Field box office, Ticketmaster,, team Tampa store; $3 surcharge within five hours of game time.

    Promotion: DJ Kitty Plush hat to first 20,000 fans.

    Probable pitchers...

  8. Rays' Alex Cobb's simulated game goes well

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays RHP Alex Cobb took what he said was a "huge" step in his recovery from a strained left oblique by throwing 49 crisp pitches, breaking balls included, in a three-inning simulated game Friday.

    "I felt good," Cobb said, adding his biggest concern was his mechanics and not the injury, which no longer is painful.

    "I think that's a good sign on its own," he said. "It's out of my mind. I'm trying to work on baseball stuff instead of being cautious and trying to heal."...

    Alex Cobb hopes to return by the end of the month.
  9. Glut of goaltenders gives Lightning options

    Lightning Strikes

    Did you know the Lightning never has developed a No. 1 goaltender?

    It has tried. From the team's first draft in 1992 to 2009, Tampa Bay selected 18 goalies, including Riku Helenius 15th overall in 2006.

    From that group, only eight played a combined 109 games for the Lightning: 48 by Karri Ramo and one by Helenius, whose contract this season was terminated.

    This is noteworthy because Tampa Bay, with the signing last week of uberprospect Andrei Vasilevskiy, has perhaps its best chance at developing a No. 1....

  10. Vasilevskii deal gives Lightning plenty to consider


    The signing of Andrei Vasilevskii to a three-year, entry-level deal was good news for the Lightning, which coveted its top goalie prospect since selecting him 19th overall in the 2012 draft.

    Where will Vasilevskii play next season? The first thought would be AHL Syracuse. But general manager Steve Yzerman would not commit.

    “I’ll kind of hold off predicting or thinking where he’s going to play or how much he’s going to play as of yet,” he said. “We’ve got to sort out our goaltending situation, make some decisions.”...

  11. Goalie prospect Andrei Vasilevskii signs 3-year deal


    The Lightning signed top goaltending prospect Andrei Vasilevskii to a three-year, entry level deal. Vasilevskii, 19, was drafted 19th overall in 2012. He was 14-8 with three shutouts in 28 games this season for Ufa of the KHL with a 2.21 goals-against average and .923 save percentage.

    And just in case you are wondering, the player is on, if memory serves, the third different spelling of his name....

  12. Lightning coach Jon Cooper a Jack Adams Award finalist


    Jon Cooper, who led the Lightning to 101 points (46-27-9) and a second place finish in the Atlantic Division was named a finalist for the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year.

    The award is given by a vote of NHL broadcasters.

    Detroit's Mike Babcock and Colorado's Patrick Roy, the favorite, also are finalists. The award will be presented June 24 in Las Vegas at the NHL Awards show....

    Jon Cooper led the Lightning to 101 points (46-27-9) and a second place finish in the Atlantic Division.
  13. Ryan Malone's Lightning situation murky

    Lightning Strikes

    Ryan Malone's legal situation is crystal clear.

    The Lightning left wing was arrested April 12 in Tampa and charged with cocaine possession (police say they found 1.3 grams in his back pocket) and DUI (police say he had Breathalyzer blood-alcohol readings of 0.112 and 0.116, well above the 0.08 at which someone legally is considered impaired in Florida). The drug charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in jail, the DUI charge six months....

  14. Sounds as if Vasilevskiy is coming to North America (updated)


    Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman repeatedly has said he was committed to signing goaltending prospect Andrey Vasilevskiy as soon as his KHL contract was done.

    Well, one day after that contract with Ufa expired, a report on the Russian web site, said Vasilevskiy has decided to come to North America. There were reports Ufa dangled a contract extension to get perhaps one more season out of its No. 1 goalie....

    Highly regarded Andrey Vasilevskiy, 6 feet 3, 204 pounds, said when he was drafted 19th overall in 2012 that his goal was to play in North America.
  15. Malone pleads not guilty to cocaine, DUI charges


    Lightning left wing Ryan Malone has pleaded not guilty to DUI and cocaine possession charges stemming from an April 12 arrest in Tampa. That case is ongoing, but on Wednesday the state in Hillsborough County court dismissed a charge of driving with a suspended license connected to an April 8 traffic stop, also in Tampa.

    Malone was not in court but represented by Tampa attorney Wes Trombley. Malone, 34, is being evaluated by a substance abuse and behavioral health program run jointly by the league and players association. No trial date has been set for the cocaine and DUI charges that could bring maximum prison time of five years and six months, respectively....

    Lightning left wing Ryan Malone has pleaded not guilty to DUI and cocaine possession charges stemming from an April 12 arrest in Tampa.