A first sea­son that was all heart

Tampa Bay Times - - Sports - Times wires

The Light­ning brought hockey to Florida 25 years ago with fun, fer­vor and fresh­ness, and hooked Tampa Bay.

TAMPA — It was 1992, and be­tween pe­ri­ods at Expo Hall — the fair­grounds barn of a hockey rink for the ex­pan­sion Tampa Bay Light­ning, the first NHL team in Florida — Terry Crisp, the team’s coach, stood in the cramped dress­ing room (what wasn’t cramped at the Hall?) and ripped his play­ers for par­tic­u­larly lousy play. Five min­utes into Crisp’s erup­tion, the door swung open. A fa­ther and son, hold­ing pop­corn and a snow cone, walked into the room.

“Is this where the bath­rooms are?”

Oh, that first sea­son.

“‘Crispy’ couldn’t even talk,” said

SUN­RISE — Roberto Luongo moved into a tie for fourth on the NHL ca­reer wins list with his 474th, mak­ing 37 saves to help the Pan­thers beat the Blues 5-2 on Thurs­day night.

Luongo, 38, is tied with Cur­tis Joseph on the ca­reer list.

“It’s nice, but my main goal is to get this team back to the play­offs,” Luongo said.

The Pan­thers didn’t make the post­sea­son last year.

Vin­cent Trocheck scored the go-ahead goal, Ian McCoshen had his first NHL goal, and Jared McCann, Aaron Ek­blad and Nick Bjugstad also con­nected for Florida.

Paul Stastny and Vince Dunn — also with his first ca­reer goal — coun­tered for St. Louis, which suf­fered its first loss in five games this sea­son.

The Blues face the Light­ning on Satur­day at Amalie Arena.

JAGR HAS WEARY LEGS IN DE­BUT: Jaromir Jagr was in his eighth NHL sea­son when Matthew Tkachuk was born in 1997, and the 45-year-old star felt all those ex­tra years when he be­gan his 24th sea­son in the league with the Flames. His new teenage team­mate played a ma­jor role in get­ting him a win.

Tkachuk scored two goals be­fore Sean Mon­a­han got the win­ner 1:02 into over­time dur­ing the Flames’ 4-3 vic­tory over the Kings late Wed­nes­day.

Jagr nearly scored on his open­ing shift of a solid de­but with the Flames, his ninth NHL team.

“I didn’t feel very well, but I ex­pected that,” Jagr said. “Hope­fully next game, I’ll feel bet­ter. … Af­ter my legs come back, it’s go­ing to be a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent.”

Though he didn’t record a shot on goal dur­ing his 15 shifts, Jagr spent time on the power play and earned more ice time than coach Glen Gu­lutzan ini­tially had planned to give him.

As­so­ci­ated Press (1992)

Brian Bradley leads the Light­ning in scor­ing in the 1992-93 in­au­gu­ral and was its first All-Star. “Every­body wanted to prove them­selves,” hesays.

Mfen­nelly@ tam­pabay.com

MARTIN FENNELLY

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