Stamkos Coverage Shows Anti-Tampa Bias

By on July 10, 2011

Steven Stamkos (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos are looked upon the by national media, especially those in Canada and around the Northeast, as the girl that is dating the guy who you think is a nerd.  Come on, you know we all have said it to our buddies at one time or another, about the guy who is “way over his head dating a girl that is so gorgeous and so hot  there is no way it’s going to last between them.”  She would be much happier dating a good looking, sophisticated guy who has the pedigree that you and your buddies feel is better suited for her.

In the hockey world today, those franchises that have the pedigree that national media feel all the girls fawn over are the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, and Philadelphia Flyers.  No other franchise could ever measure up to what those teams have to offer.

Surely, there is certainly no chance hell that the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning franchise – or a place like the Tampa Bay community – could ever satisfy athletes of the class of Stamkos, Lecavalier or St. Louis, and there is certainly no way it could ever last in Tampa.  The players would much rather play for the more sophisticated franchises listed above.

This state of mind has never been more evident today than the coverage that the media is reporting about the Steven Stamkos contract talks.  It’s said on a daily basis that Stamkos is not happy in Tampa, and that he doesn’t want to live in Tampa anymore.  It’s apparent to all of those reporting on the many Internet sites that the reason he hasn’t signed a contract  already is because he wants to leave the team and the area and move back to Canada or at least to a bigger market.  Tampa is too small of market for a player of Stamkos’s stature, and he will never achieve the things he wants to in his career if he stays with the Lightning.

It couldn’t be that the real reason he hadn’t signed was because his agent is possibly doing his job trying to get the best deal for his client. The Lighting were doing some negotiating with Stamkos’s agent,  trying to reach agreement on a plan that would make Tampa a place where Stamkos could thrive for many years to come.  Winning is the end game for both the franchise and the player, and hoisting the Stanley Cup is the desire for Stamkos and the entire organization.

The same things that are being reported about Stamkos were reported for years about Vincent Lecavalier.  For years, it almost read like the special of the day in a restaurant, constant trade rumors reported that really ramped up whenever Lecavalier went back home to Montreal (as well as when the Lightning traveled to any Canadian city or major U.S. hockey market).

It was never reported that Lecavalier was entrenched in the community here in Tampa, one in which he donated so much of  his time and money to help build a new cancer ward in a children’s hospital here in the area.  That fact alone will leave a much longer lasting legacy than anything Lecavalier does on the ice.

How could that get reported, because then the national media would then have to admit that Tampa was a great place to live and that Lecavalier actually did want to play for the organization and make this area his home, as he’d be stating all along.

Instead of doing that, it’s much better to throw a bunch of nonsense if it’s believed to make for a much better storyline, one that portrays Tampa as the proverbial “nerd. There’s no way that these high class players could ever want to play their entire careers in Tampa, right?

If you take the supposed sources reported to writers today on the Internet, than Stamkos would either have a Maple Leafs, Kings or Flyers sweater on today, and he certainly wouldn’t be continuing to negotiate a long-term deal with the Lightning.

I appreciate how hard it is to make a living today being a new media member, I am one of those guys myself, but what I do remember however, is that the players I write about are people first, not just an end to a means to get more hits on my site.  I do not forsake the truth for the sake of hits on the website.

I contend that if you want to state something that is commentary or that you are offering an educated guess then state that in your reporting, don’t throw around “my sources tell me” unless those sources are actually, legitimately close to Stamkos and know what he’s thinking.  It’s time for the new media to answer to some sort of code of ethics not just write stuff that has no filter just because you have access to a computer.

Bottom line for those who care, my educated guess is that Stamkos will do just what Lecavalier did before him, sign a long term deal in Tampa which keeps him here for many years to come.  Once that happens, I will tell those media members who think that Tampa is not good enough for Stamkos, Lecavalier and St Louis, to “look at the scoreboard, baby.”

We can’t wait to host you down here for the Stanley Cup playoffs for years to come; where Tampa will be happy to show off their world class hockey players for all to see.

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