Nick Kelly

Times Staff

Minnesotans are born on ice rinks, not in hospitals. I have fond memories of strapping on cheap pairs of skates and gliding — OK, more like shuffling to stay upright — on outdoor rinks and pavement flooded with water good enough for skating while growing up in frigid Minnesota winters. I enjoyed the sport of hockey then, but I really fell in love with it when I covered Minnesota high school hockey early in my career. Several stops later, I got smart and found the best of both worlds: Covering hockey in a warm-weather city as a Lightning writer in Tampa.

Brayden Point is one of the NHL’s top goal scorers. Soon the Lightning may have to pay him like one.

Tampa Bay Lightning center Brayden Point (21) is due for a big pay raise this summer. (DIRK SHADD | Times)
He’s one of the league’s best scorers, and bargains. Here’s a look at the economics behind making Point’s production and value match.

One sniff of smelling salts and the Lightning is hooked

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) sniffs a smelling salt caplet that he got from head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan just after the national anthem concludes before the opening face off as the Lightning take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Jan. 8. (DIRK SHADD | Times)
A whiff of greatness? Perhaps, or the team’s smelling salts ritual is just that. Routine and steeped in superstition.