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Ring bling is the thing to officially put Cup seasons in the epilogue for Tampa Bay Lightning







by Erik Erlendsson |  @Erik_Erlendsson |  Like us on Facebook
October 22, 2021

TAMPA – When the Tampa Bay Lightning opened the season, they closed the book on another championship season watching a third banner rise to the rafters.

But the epilogue came on Thursday, four games into the regular season, when the symbolic reminder of what the players accomplished were presented to them at a private party at the home of team owner Jeff Vinik.

A special presentation and a special guest, with the belief that the book on last season is now closed and put on the shelf to be revisited at a later time.

{mprestriction ids=”1,2″}As the Lightning returned to the ice on Friday to prepare to face the Colorado Avalanche, the noon practice time offered a bit of a later start time, likely to help give everybody on the team an extra hour to recoup from what took place on Thursday night.

That’s because a party was held at the Vinik home to present the players with their 2021 Stanley Cup Championship ring. And just like the 2020 version of the ring, there were plenty of diamonds, karats and personalized sayings inscribed into the inside of the ring. It was the final act of a championship season.

“The rings are a special time because that’s what the guys (get),” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “The banners are for the fans and the rings for the players. And so that was their closing chapter.”

It proved to be quite the party, as well.

From the dinner, to the ring ceremony, to sharing all the pictures and selfies to Pat Maroon, Tom Mulligan and Nigel Kirwan showing off all three of their championship rings. To cap it all off, Vinik hired Fall Out Boy to provide a private concert for the players and staff in attendance.

“It was remarkable,” Cooper said. “And I’ve been in this organization a decade now and right when you think you’ve seen it all with the Vinik’s, they continue to top it. It was an experience that I will never forget. Then it’s like “Poof!” Suddenly Fall Out Boy is playing. What else is gonna happen here?. It was quite an event.”

The ring has the results of each series on the inside of the ring, the team’s playoff record the past two seasons, Andrei Vasilevskiy’s record five consecutive series-clinching shutouts plus each players signature. The top of the ring opens up, just like last year’s, to reveal three additional diamonds to represent the three Stanley Cup titles the franchise has won, an homage to “Last Day of School” mantra with each player’s number surrounding the saying, the sayings “Work Over Hope” and “Process Over Outcome” used by Cooper through out the postseason, Cup Parade Repeat and, perhaps the most famous words from the championship, #1 BS, in relation to Nikita Kucherov’s now famous postgame comments after the team defeated Montreal on July 7.

“The way it opens up and everything, like all the players numbers, the sayings including, number one BS,” Cooper said. “The whole thing was so well thought out. There’s like an elegance, classiness and swag, all thrown into that ring, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. It’s remarkable.”

But now that it’s behind them, the focus is back to the ice where Tampa Bay is just four games into a full 82-game season and has plenty to work on, particularly in the absence of Nikita Kucherov.

Tampa Bay did reacquire forward Alex Barre-Boulet on waivers from the Seattle Kraken on Friday to help with the depth the team has lost.

It was more about getting the team on track, with plenty of power play work and backchecking drills on the ice.

“We got to be with the Stanley Cup one more time, but now it’s time to go back to winning hockey games,” Cooper said. “That was our focus from the moment we got in (Friday) morning.”

And the Lightning have the Avalanche on the docket, a team picked by many to be in the Stanley Cup Final. But Colorado has lost three consecutive games coming in and have not looked good in the process, something the Lightning are well aware of.

“We’ve looked at them and probably (the media) are picking teams and I think most people have probably picked Lightning to make the playoffs and most people pick Colorado make the playoffs,” he said. “We have a combined record of three and five. So we’re not where either of us thought we would like to be at this point but, I mean we are only four games in. But I think both teams are probably going to be a little crusty going into (Saturday).”



Copyright © 2021 National Hockey Now and Erik Erlendsson. Tampa Bay Hockey Now is an independently owned and operated site and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning organization or the National Hockey League.