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Remembering Bill Davidson

Tragically, the Lightning had a death in the family this week, as former owner Bill Davidson passed away at the age of 86. Davidson, who built a billion dollar business, sports and entertainment empire, won three NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons, one NHL championship with the Lightning, one IHL championship with the Detroit Vipers, and three WNBA championships with the Detroit Shock. In short, Davidson left a tradition of success wherever he went, whether it was in building his family's glass company into a global giant, or building the Palace of Auburn Hills without a dime of public money.

I don't know if I'm the best person to write about Bill Davidson, because I always got the impression from watching Davidson that if you locked he and I in a room we probably wouldn't have agreed about anything: politics, business, sports, etc. Then again, maybe that makes me the perfect person to write about Davidson's impact on the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise, because I've never really viewed Davidson through the lens of doe-eyed admiration or sentimentality.

Did I have disagreements with the way Davidson ran the Lightning? Sure. I especially had disagreements with the trust he places in Palace Sports and Entertainment executive Tom Wilson who, in a fit of PR genius, was quoted in the Detroit papers the day after Davidson bought the Lightning as claiming PS&E didn't care about the hockey team and only was interested in turning the then Ice Palace and the parcels of land surrounding it into a profit generating machine. Davidson ran the Lightning with a patience, coolness, and dispassion that, in my mind, surely came from being an owner who wasn't from Tampa and probably always viewed the Lightning as a stepchild to his beloved Pistons. Some of his budget decisions probably prolonged the time it took for the Lightning to rebuild, and the faith he also placed in some of the former hockey operations people from his Detroit Vipers probably also prolonged the time that Lightning fans had to suffer watching last place hockey.

But, with that said, I can't argue that Bill Davidson didn't improve the condition of the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise immeasurably in the time that he owned it. It's also inarguable, in my mind, that the franchise has slid backwards, to a degree, since he sold the team. Davidson and his PS&E management brought professionalism and real-world experience to a franchise that had been nothing short of a zoo in the years that it was owned by Japanese consortium Kokusai, and flamboyant braggart Art Williams. He might have done it at a slow and steady pace, but he brought a championship to a Lightning team that only managed two playoff wins in all the preceeding years before he bought the club.

That, ultimately, is the only objective way we can measure a man's success in his life's endeavors, whether they're in his family, his business, or in a multi-million dollar sports franchise. Did you leave it better off than when you came into it? Bill Davidson left the Lightning better off than when he gained control of the team, turning it from one of the NHL's longest running jokes into a team that, for a time, was touted as the very model of how a franchise should be run in a small, Southern market. That's the legacy Bill Davidson left behind, and that's why this writer and everyone at Bolt Prospects extends our condolences to the family and friends of Bill Davidson on this sad day. And, that's why, no matter what happens, the Davidson family will always have a place in the Tampa Bay Lightning family.

Will Gratton Claim Stop Another Trade?

"Center Chris Gratton has been claimed off re-entry waivers today by the Columbus Blue Jackets."

I wonder the claiming of Chris Gratton will affect Columbus' (alleged) pursuit of Jeff Halpern. It might be good for the Lightning to trade him away, especially if they are able to get a decent return, ie. Jakub Voracek or Derick Brassard. It might be difficult to get such a high return for Halpern, but it would be good for the Lightning if they were able to.

Something Positive to say

Enough Negativity... The Lightning want Vinny to play like a 8.5 million $ player. He should be the leader and make a huge difference. I believe he is starting to. The big difference in this team is coaching... it is like having a coach with a player's insight with no forward playing over 20, and none less than 10. Arty makes the biggest difference up front. We need a rugged (feared) blue liner... Smaby maybe? Great Goaltender (except shootouts) Faster team; more heart!

"High Profile Busts"

Memo to Hockey's Future: when a 5th round pick and a 6th round pick don't pan out, that's not a "high profile bust."

Your pals,
The Bolt Prospects Staff

P.S. Alexandre Pic(k)ard is an Ottawa Senator. Better luck next time.

Test Post from iPhone

This is a test post from my new iPhone.

Tyrell signed....

I just saw that TSN.ca is reporting that the bolts have signed prospect Dana Tyrell to a standard three year entry level contract. It's good to see this. There aren't too many talented prospects in Tampa's system so it's good to get one of the ones that are there locked up. Let the youth play since the vets aren't doing much. Hopefully they'll follow this and sign Fadden. We'll see.

DeCoste fight

Fight involving Lightning prospect Kyle Decoste (Brampton Battalion - No.23)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ve3HUzz3gWs

James Wright - No.1 Play of the Week

You have to sit through plays 5-2, but James Wright is shown here with his No.1 play of the week.

http://www.whl.ca/video/?video_id=244

Wait a minute....

So, someone please correct me if I'm wrong but didn't we (Tampa) have the worst overall record in the league last year? Yes, sadly I do believe we did. With that said though that should give Tampa the first crack at players that are put on waivers from other teams around the league. With that said, how in the world could the Tampa brass have passed on claiming a talented young D-man like Kyle Quincy who was put on waivers by the Wings and picked up by the LA Kings. Quincy who has been hidden in the Wings system for a while now was a numbers casualty in their system.

O'Brien and Ouellet Traded to Vancouver

As reported on 620 WDAE and now TSN.ca the Lightning have traded away Shane O'Brien and Michel Ouellet for D Lukas Krajicek and RW Juraj Simek.

Ouellet will be reporting to Manitoba and O'Brien to Vancouver.

I would assume Krajicek will report to Tampa and Simek to Norfolk but no official word on that.

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