Mari Faiello - Sports Trending and Outdoors Reporter

Sports Trending and Outdoors Reporter

It’s always been about sports — whether I was playing them or writing about them. It should be no surprise that’s how I ended up here, covering athletics for Florida’s best newspaper after internship stints in 2019 and 2020. I’m usually toting around a Venti Starbucks iced coffee or refresher in one hand with a Staples notepad and Pilot G-2 pen in the other. When I’m not out on assignment, I’m playing with my dog. The University of Florida and the Independent Florida Alligator taught me how to write, showing me I could actually live out my lifelong passion. And it didn’t take long for me to figure out I get the same rush of adrenaline pursuing a story I love as I did diving on the hardwood and plastic-tiled volleyball courts for 12 years. And now, I get to write for my hometown paper. The same paper that inspired me to pursue the life of a journalist.

  1. Steven Stamkos needs 78 points to catch Martin St. Louis as the Lightning's all-time leader.
  2. The injury to Nikita Kucherov opened the door for Alex Barre-Boulet to return to the Lightning.
  3. The Lightning claimed forward Alex Barre-Boulet off waivers Friday, after he had spent a week and a half with Seattle.
  4. The Lightning's 2020-21 Stanley Cup championship ring features 338 diamonds and 52 sapphires.
  5. Lightning defensemen Victor Hedman, left, and Ryan McDonagh, second from left, pose with Nashville defensemen Roman Josi, second from right, and Mattias Ekholm, right, Wednesday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.
  6. Panthers center Carter Verhaeghe (23) competes against the Lightning during a first-round playoff game last season.
  7. The Lightning tested Corey Perry, pictured, on the top line with Ondrej Palat and Brayden Point at Monday's practice.
  8. Sei Young Kim shows off her trophy after winning the inaugural 2020 Pelican Women's Championship in Belleair on Nov. 22, 2020.
  9. The Pittsburgh Penguins' Brian Boyle (11), left, celebrates his second-period goal Tueday at Amalie Arena.
  10. Lightning players look on as the 2020-21 Stanley Cup Champions banner is raised before the season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday at Amalie Arena.
  11. Sonya Bryson-Kirksey performs the U.S. national anthem before the Lightning's season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday at Amalie Arena.
  12. Ross Colton certainly closed out last season on a high note, scoring the lone goal against the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup clincher.
  13. Rays fans react to the team's season-ending loss to the Red Sox during a watch party Monday night at the St. Pete Pier.
  14. Sonya Bryson-Kirksey will be back singing the national anthem at Lightning home games, starting with Tuesday night's opener.
  15. New addition Corey Perry likely will play on the Lightning's third line and second power-play unit.
  16. Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky stops Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov on a breakaway during Game 1 of last season's opening-round playoff series in May at BB&T Center in Sunrise. Tampa Bay and Florida move from the Central Division back to the Atlantic this season.
  17. Lightning players Erik Cernak, left, Andrei Vasilevskiy, center, and Nikita Kucherov, right, have been chosen to play for their respective countries in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
  18. Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat  on Thursday was one of three players announced to play for Team Czech Republic in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
  19. Andrei Vasilevskiy rarely comes off the ice (in fact, he played every game of this past postseason). With so much hockey packed into the past two seasons, the Lightning are careful in combatting possible fatigue or burnout.
  20. Things got a bit chippy Tuesday night in Orlando. In the third period, the Panthers' Mason Marchment, left, and the Lightning's Zach Bogosian, center, fight with Pat Maroon looming in the background.
  21. Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr played in 317 games with the Lightning from 2012-18, then went overseas. He's back with the team this season.
  22. Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) greets some of his former New England Patriots teammates following Sunday's game in Foxborough, Mass.
  23. Lightning newcomer Corey Perry gets props from his teammates after scoring in the second period against Carolina on Friday night.