Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Follow the passing Cup
By EJ Hradek and Sherry Skalko ESPN.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- If you want to know the pecking order of an NHL champion, just follow the Stanley Cup.
Obviously, the captain is the first to lift Lord Stanley's Cup. And, accordingly, Dave Andreychuk did the honors for the Lightning. But, after that, where did it go?
The Cup traveled through the Lightning in the following order:
Andreychuk, Tim Taylor, Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, Fredrik Modin, Nikolai Khabibulin, Dan Boyle, Chris Dingman, Pavel Kubina, Darryl Sydor, Ruslan Fedotenko, Cory Sarich, Cory Stillman, Jassen Cullimore, Andre Roy, Nolan Pratt, Brad Lukowich, Martin Cibak, Dmitry Afanasenkov, John Grahame, Ben Clymer, Stan Neckar, Eric Perrin, Darren Rumble, Coach John Tortorella and associate coach Craig Ramsay.
Immediately after the game, Flames assistant coach Rich Preston went to the Lightning bench to congratulate coaches John Tortorella and assistant coach Craig Ramsay. After shaking hands with Preston, Tortorella bolted for the Flames bench to meet with Darryl Sutter. The two head coaches embraced and shared a few private words.
Afterward, Tortorella had nothing but praise for Sutter and the Flames.
"I have tremendous respect for Darryl Sutter and his team," Tortorella said. "We were fortunate. I want to make that point. It was a hard-nosed series, and I have a total amount of respect for them."
Lukowich has won two Stanley Cups, but this is the first time his name will be engraved on it.
Because of the limited space on the Cup, a minimum requirement of at least 40 regular-season games or one game in the Stanley Cup finals must be met for a player to have his name included.
Lukowich was a member of the Dallas Stars when they beat the Buffalo Sabres in 1999, but played only 14 games at the end of the regular season after being called up from the minors. He played eight playoff games, but none in the finals.
Teams can petition to have a player's name included -- like the New York Rangers did for Eddie Olczyk in 1994. The Stars didn't ask to have Lukowich's name included because they assumed it would be.
Taking two for the other team
Flames coach Darryl Sutter will go down in Lightning history ... again. Besides being the opposing coach for the Lightning's first Stanley Cup title, Sutter was behind the bench of the Chicago Blackhawks when they visited Tampa on Oct. 7, 1992 -- the first game in Lightning history. The Bolts beat the Blackhawks 7-3 behind a four-goal effort by Kris Kontos.
Drive for five
Lightning assistant equipment manager Jim Pickard is no stranger to Stanley Cup celebrations. Pickard, in his seventh season with the Lightning, was the equipment manager for the New York Islanders during their championship run in the early 1980s. With the Bolts' win, Pickard has been a part of five championship teams.
• The team that scored the first goal won all seven games of the Stanley Cup finals. The last time it happened was 1945 when the Detroit Red Wings beat the Toronto Maple Leafs.
• Thirteen of the 27 goals scored in this series were scored on the power play (48.1 percent). Only once in Stanley Cup finals history has there been a higher percentage: 1965, when the Montreal Canadiens beat the Blackhawks in seven games (50 percent, 15 of 30).
• The Lightning became the fifth team to win the Stanley Cup after losing Game 5. In the previous 18 times a series was tied 2-2, the team winning Game 5 won the Stanley Cup 14 times. The Lightning join the 1950 Red Wings, 1964 Maple Leafs, 1971 Canadiens and 2001 Colorado Avalanche.
• The Lightning also became the sixth team since the league expanded from six to 12 teams in 1967-68 to win the Stanley Cup in its first finals appearance. They join the 1974 Philadelphia Flyers, 1980 Islanders, 1991 Pittsburgh Penguins, 1995 New Jersey Devils and 1996 Avalanche.
• The Flames' 26 playoff games tied the 1987 Flyers for most in a playoff year. Had the Flames won, they would have held the distinction of most playoff games played by a Stanley Cup champion. The '87 Flyers lost to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 7.
• The Flames' 11 losses also tie an NHL record for most in a playoff year. The record is shared by the 1987 Flyers and the 1993 Los Angeles Kings.