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No pressure Lightning, but the boss needs you to win in five games

If the Stanley Cup final goes to six games, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will not be in Montreal. His oldest son will be getting married the following day in Rhode Island.
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik had to wait to lift the Stanley Cup until captain Steven Stamkos and the rest of the team brought it back home to Tampa last season postseason. Because of a wedding commitment before Game 6, Vinik may miss another celebration this year.
Lightning owner Jeff Vinik had to wait to lift the Stanley Cup until captain Steven Stamkos and the rest of the team brought it back home to Tampa last season postseason. Because of a wedding commitment before Game 6, Vinik may miss another celebration this year. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Jun. 26

TAMPA — A year ago, Jeff Vinik’s dream of the Lightning winning a Stanley Cup came true while they were thousands of miles away in Edmonton and he was at home with his family during the pandemic.

He’ll be a little closer this time — just hundreds of miles away — but still might miss a Cup-clinching celebration.

Vinik’s oldest son, Danny, is getting married in Newport, R.I., on July 10, which is the day after Game 6 is scheduled to be played in Montreal. Because the pandemic delayed last season’s playoffs, the 2021 season was condensed and the playoffs began a month later than normal.

“Two years ago when they picked the date, we all assumed hockey would be over in the middle of June if we were fortunate to get that far,” Vinik said. “I’m thankful there’s no game on July 10 but Game 6, if it goes that far, is on that Friday night, the ninth, in Montreal.

“So I will not be going to that game, none of my family will either, we will be at the rehearsal and welcome dinner in Newport. I guess it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if, two years in a row, I wouldn’t be there when we lifted the Cup.”

No chance of sneaking away between the appetizer and main course to catch a flight to Montreal?

“You know what? Family comes first,” Vinik said. “Hockey is a very close second, but family comes first.”

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