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Vinik to victories: A decade of Tampa Bay’s best moments

Wayne Masut | The Scrum Sports

The past decade has been a new era of Tampa Bay Lightning hockey. From the beginning of the Vinik-Yzerman chapter to naming Jon Cooper head coach, it’s been one wild ride for the Bolts and their supporters.  

However, beyond the personnel, and the growing fanbase, there have been unbelievable instants. Moments. Captured in time, and in turn, Lightning history. The start of something special, to the end of an incredible ten years. So within all the chaos, let’s take a look back. Let’s pick and choose: the greatest Lightning moment from each season of the previous decade.

2010-11: Vinik takes over

On February 5, 2010, Jeff Vinik bought the Tampa Bay Lightning. Since that date, the Lightning have made the postseason six times, the Eastern Conference Final four times, and the Stanley Cup Final once.

Vinik has also been a great role model in the community since buying the franchise, donating nearly $20 million to various nonprofit organizations in the Greater Tampa Bay Area via the Community Heroes Program.

All in all, Vinik gets it. As proof, he once again stepped up for those in need when the NHL suspended its season due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Vinik Sports Group took just one day to announce a plan to compensate Amalie Arena employees who will miss Lightning and March Madness games scheduled to take place shortly. He also will be launching through his sports group a program called “VSG Cares” to help provide help for full- and part-time employees faced with temporary financial issues. He was one of a few key figures to step up in the Tampa Bay community in the wake of COVID-19.


Local school districts distribute free food.

Jeff Vinik pays part-time workers at Amalie Arena.

Uber Eats waives delivery fees in US and Canada.

There are good things happening this week that we shouldn’t forget about.

— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) March 18, 2020


Oh yeah, he also brought in Steve Yzerman. Not too bad, Jeff. Not too bad. On and off the ice, Vinik has transformed the Bolts organization for the better.

2011-12: sixty for Stamkos

This one, in all honesty, was easy. The ’11-12 season was strikingly mediocre for the Bolts. They finished the campaign 38-36-8, but one number defined their season: 60. Steven Stamkos scored his 60th goal of the season in Tampa Bay’s final game of the campaign. He would be the only player in the decade to reach the milestone. So, naturally, his teammates had a little fun with him postgame.

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