What can the rest of the NHL learn from the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning?
The Tampa Bay Lightning are your 2019-20 Stanley Cup champions. Nearly a full year after the season started on Oct. 2, 2019, the Lightning beat the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final to bring home their first title since 2004. They emerged from the most chaotic Stanley Cup Playoffs of all-time as the champions.
It’s not a secret the NHL is a copy cat league. Teams see what works and they quickly adapt. After the Los Angeles Kings won two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014, teams focused heavily on defense and physicality. Two title wins from the Pittsburgh Penguins got teams to re-focus on offense and having three scoring lines instead of just two.
So what should teams be trying to copy from the Tampa Bay Lightning? What lessons can they learn from the Stanley Cup champions? Let’s take a look at what teams should hone in on as they try to follow in the Lightning’s footsteps.
No Pain, No Gain
Just like babies have to fall down many times before they learn to walk, teams have to suffer quite a bit before they can learn what it takes to win the toughest trophy to win in all of sports. It’s painful, but necessary.
The Lightning suffered the most embarrassing postseason loss in NHL history back in 2019. They got swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets. To this day, they are the only President’s Trophy winners to fail to win a single postseason game.
Tampa learned from their pain. They confronted it head on. Instead of letting it break them, the Lightning used it to motivate them to greatness. As head coach Jon Cooper told the media, the Bolts went from the outhouse to the penthouse.
It’s easy to let frustrating losses get to you. But teams need to be patient. Pain is necessary for growth. The Penguins’ struggles from 2010 to 2015 helped them win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017. Without all their past failures, the Washington Capitals wouldn’t have been the champions in 2018. And without a wakeup call from the Blue Jackets, the Lightning wouldn’t have won.