The pressure is on the good people of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Largo, Lakeland, Pinellas Park, even Lutz, to start buying some Lightning playoff tickets. If not, the team's lovable, hugable mascot is sleeping outside for a while.
According to the Lightning, the team's mascot -- let's just call him/her ThunderBug -- is moving to the roof of the Ice Palace after tonight's game. The mascot stays there until the team sells out its opening playoff game. Opponent? TBD. Day, time, site? TBD.
The Lightning had a sellout, SRO crowd for Friday's game, so selling some postseason ducats shouldn't be a problem. Actually, it's a problem the Panthers would love to have.
-- The thundersticks were back in force at the Ice Palace on Friday night. Man, I really hate those things. Shouldn't have written that. Now I know that Panthers will have them next year.
-- D Noah Welch did indeed make his Florida debut against the Lightning Friday night. Alexei Semenov said he was good to go after Friday's morning skate, meaning Welch -- an emergency call-up -- was headed back to the minors. But, low and behold, Welch played and Semenov was a scratch. Guess JM had a talk with Alexei, assuring him his "injured groin'' needed more "rest.''