With the Leafs in Tampa tonight against the defending champions, a story of time, place and Lightning that's worth revisiting this morning, just in case you missed it the first time around: On the road with the Cup.
Dirk Shadd, a photographer with the St. Petersburg Times, writes a delightful remembrance about travelling around Europe and North America with Tampa Bay's Stanley Cup the summer before last, in a Romenesko posting that includes this Before Sunrise moment (there's no permalink to Shadd's story, you'll have to scroll down to the third entry in the linked post to find it):
I think the real significance of this story hit me after one all-nighter in the Czech town of Pisek. As dawn approached, I found Lightning player Stan Neckar lying on his back on the cobblestone sidewalk near a 14th-century bridge, the oldest in the Czech Republic. Two baguettes served as pillows beneath his head; he was hugging the Cup to his chest.
He told me he had taken the Cup to the bridge to watch the sun rise and think about his life.
"You realize it's the last hour and that could be the last time," he said. The seldom-used member of the team cried hard, tears of joy. "Even when I had a kid, I never cry. Even when I'm injured."
Only thing about this is that it leaves me wanting more -- of his impressions. Shadd's work on what was a summer-long project, "Stanley's Summer Tour" has already been out there for a while, and it's fabulous, just the thing to get you through your morning coffee.
Oh, and the Leafs reads for ya:
Darcy Tucker, limping after taking a shot off the foot, may not play tonight: "I think I have been a lot like the team. How the team is going is a reflection of how I'm going." (Um, I don't get it, either.)
With the Dec. 1 deadline to sign restricted FA players for this season, the Leafs re-signed injured Karel Pilar (Although he's skating with Marlies, there's no word when he might be back with Leafs).
Lance Hornby at the Sun has a nice one about how the puck from Ed Belfour's career win No. 447 was bought for $100 and delivered to the goalie just before the team bus pulled out of the rink in Florida.