In a new series, BoltsByTheBay writers will be interviewing Tampa Bay Lightning fans, finding out their favourite moments and discovering what defines a true Bolts fan. In this innaugural article of Fan Sided (get it?!), writer Ryan Bristlon spoke to BoltsByTheBay’s new lead writer, William Morden, to find out what makes his passion for the Lightning tick.
“I realized I was a genuine fan of the Bolts after the lockout,” Morden said. Morden wouldn’t say which team, but indicated that his true love of a hockey team lies is the Western Conference, a team he’s followed since childhood. But Morden says he started testing the market for a team he could rally behind in the East.
“After realizing a few similarites between ‘my team’ and the Lightning, I started to gain interest in what they were doing,” said Morden. “After enjoying the style of play and level of skill I saw in Tampa, I chose the Bolts to fill the Eastern Conference portion of my hockey heart.”
All this passion for the team is still relatively new to Morden. Had he been a fan at the time, Morden said that his favourite Bolts moment would have most definitely been the team’s winning of the Stanley Cup. But Morden is almost as new as Stamkos, and ironically enough, Morden said: I would dare say that Stamkos’ selection in the 2008 draft would make for the best date.”
Morden then added that his favourite moment would most definitely change “if they can win the cup again…well, d’uh!”
Morden was then asked about players; what makes one admirable and respectable, to which Morden had an answer for that made it seem like he had thought about it for years.
“I admire Martin St. Louis as a player because of his cometitive nature and for his dedication to the team,” he said. “I also admire Steve Yzerman as the General Manager because of his professional demeanor and hockey cunning.”
Morden was also in the middle of writing his own article about what the addition of R.J. Umberger could bring to the team when he was asked what player in the NHL would he like to see on the Lightning and what could they bring to the team. Obviously, Morden’s answer was Umberger.
“I would say that the addition would bolster the Bolts’ roster significantly. He is believed to be seeking a move prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent next July.”
As a writer, I saved what I felt was the most essential question for the end, and Morden was ready. One can have passion for a team, find inspiration in the players, and indulge themselves in ways in which the team could improve. But, in the grander scheme of things, what makes a team great enough to put your passion behind in the first place? What constitutes a dynasty?
“What defines a great team is that team’s ability to build, develop, and maintain a winning environment,” said Morden. He also added simply that “winning equals greatness.”
Detroit has made it to the playoffs for twenty straight years, explains Morden, and has won the cup four times during that stretch of time.
“Even when they get beaten out of the playoffs by the Sharks two years in a row, more people would tell you that Detroit – not San Jose – is a great team.”
Morden finished his thought with this: “Tampa was purchased by Jeff Vinik. Then he imposed Steve Yzerman – the front-man for ‘The Great Detroit’ for so many years – to be the GM. Then, ‘Stevie Y’ hired coach Guy Boucher and re-signed top-prospects Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell.”
What do all of those steps conclude for Morden?
“I believe they’re heading for that same greatness.”
If you would like to give some insight into what makes you a Bolts fan and share your stories with BoltsByTheBay, simply follow us on Twitter or email one of our writers. You can follow William Morden on Twitter at @thefrozenpond and you can follow me, Ryan Bristlon, at @TampaBayWriting