Angry Alexis: Adieu Alaskan Assassin
Sports fans choose their favorite players for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they’re guys like Steven Stamkos who scores goals with near supernatural ability. Sometimes it is players like Radko Gudas who rock the opposition with a bone jarring hit. We wear their number on our jerseys with pride, announcing to the world that this is OUR favorite player.
My favorite Lightning player has been Nate Thompson for quite some time. Quite a few of you have been able to locate me at the Tampa Bay Times Forum because of my #44 jersey. Amid the flurry of trades and activity Sunday night, Nate was traded to the Anaheim Ducks. I’ll run the risk of self-indulgence and bid him a proper farewell.
Claimed off of waivers from the New York Islanders in July of 2009, Nate
transformed from a “spare part” into a solid depth player. A fixture in the face off circle and the penalty kill unit, he carved out a niche for himself with the Lightning over the last five years. He became a leader in the locker room and became an alternate captain.
Nate never led the team in goals or assists or hits. His play wasn’t flashy and was known primarily as a lower line grinder. You weren’t likely to get highlight reel footage, but what you got was a guy who worked hard every shift. Thompson played hard and hustled every time he hit the ice. The Lightning gave him an opportunity and he worked hard to earn his spot every night. It’s because of this that his new team in Anaheim is praising him as a solid depth player that is sure to contribute on the ice.
It’s always difficult when our favorite players end up on other teams. Sports are a business at the end of the day. As much as we tell ourselves not to get emotionally involved with our teams, that’s kind of why we’re fanatics. We’re passionate about the sport of hockey, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the men who don those jerseys night in and night out. Nate wore Bolt blue well and did us all proud. I wish him the absolute best going forward.
And don’t worry. You’ll still be able to find me wearing #44 at the Forum.
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