After the Colorado Avalanche's 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 26 clinched a 4-2 Stanley Cup finals victory, Avs lovers exploded with excitement caught on video. But plenty of rooters on Twitter in Denver and beyond also set off different kinds of blasts — F-bombs directed straight at the Bolts, their head coach, Jon Cooper, and their entire fan base.
Why? Two words: whining and complaining.
Tampa Bay came into the playoffs as the two-time NHL champs, but the squad still had plenty to prove. The Lightning's first cup, earned in the NHL bubble created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic when no fans were present, was against the Dallas Stars, who overachieved merely to reach the finals. And the next year, the Lightning matched up against the Canadiens, who represented a classic Cinderella story; Montreal was the lowest-seeded playoff participant, with the league's eighteenth-best record out of 31 franchises. But those glass slippers proved fragile, and the Lightning cruised to a 4-1 gentleman's sweep.
As a result, the Avs were far and away the best unit the Lightning had faced in the finals since at least 2015, when Tampa Bay was bested by a great Chicago Blackhawks lineup. Had the Lightning won, they could have claimed to be the best team of their era. A loss, on the other hand, meant they'd wind up being viewed as good but not an all-time great.
The pressure of this scenario came into play after the Avs' pivotal game-four overtime triumph, when a splenetic Cooper suggested afterward that the Lightning had been robbed. The reason: Colorado briefly had an extra man on the ice when Nazem Kadri notched the goal that ended the contest. Hockey commentators from far and wide quickly spoke out against this theory, noting that the same call could be made during every line change, but that didn't stop the Lightning faithful from playing up this narrative — and Cooper's subsequent apology/non-apology for his outburst didn't help the situation.
The same issue cropped up again during the third period of game six, when Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog had to crawl off the ice after taking a shot to the skate, with superstar Nathan MacKinnon giving him an assist, as the players on the Tampa Bay bench bayed for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty that wasn't and shouldn't have been called. Cooper didn't focus on this moment in a post-game interview, but rather than saluting the Avs' accomplishment, he griped about all the injuries his squad had suffered — the implication being that had the Lightning been at full-strength, the cup would have stayed in Florida for another year.
Fans in Colorado noticed and weren't appreciative — and their antipathy could fuel antagonism between the Avalanche and the Lightning for years to come. Count down twenty examples below:
Congrats to the Avs, far & away the most talented team in the ‘yoffs.— ᴆom (@domino0Ch) June 27, 2022
Hope every Tampa fan has a miserable summer. Fuck yall https://t.co/0wWXuFYM65
i was too sick and slept through the stanley cup finals but im glad avs won fuck tampa— em (@stellaeperditae) June 27, 2022
Fuck Tampa I’m happy for Avs and this is coming from a Devils fan. Nothing beats the raw emotion of men raising the Stanley Cup for the first time. Nothing.— Austin Arabatzis (@AustinArabatzis) June 27, 2022
I passed out around 8 last night but really happy to see Tampa fucking lost. At home. Fuck them. Go Avs.— Wild Whacky Arm Flailing Tube Valerie (@sevenohthree) June 27, 2022
Go Avs! But more importantly, FUCK The Lightning! Landeskoooog!— Dan Sjöström (@youtelling) June 27, 2022
Fuck. Drunk. Hockey, gotta log off. See ya. Energy flying still. Fantastic season. These opinions out here still triggering. Still awaiting a response from Tampa fan congratulating those Avs in my feed. Have yet to see one.— Jimmy Milstead (@MilyVanilly) June 27, 2022
Fuck Tampa the cup belongs to the avs!— E (@edogedoggy) June 27, 2022
All of these fucking Tampa Bay Lightning fans are little cowards what the fuck are you guys whining about, you guys won the last two fucking championships in a row,the fucking AVS played better that’s what it comes down to.Stop making excuses grow the fuck up. #ColoradoAvalanche— [email protected] (@WhoKnowsW3) June 27, 2022
ok jon. stop making it about them. YOU GUYS HAVE 2 PRIOR CUPS. BE HAPPY FOR THE AVS U JEALOUS FUCK— JohnnyToronto (@quachiemouse) June 27, 2022
Yes, cause the Avs were 100% healthy too… stfu. Dude is such a crybaby, fuck him lmao https://t.co/mzL1hRD8Xp— 𝘒𝘦𝘯𝘯𝘺 🇮🇪 (@CantGuardJeudy) June 27, 2022
AVS BANGGG FUCK TB— LeGM (@TeamKartFTW) June 27, 2022
IM SO HAPPY FOR THE AVS FUCK THE BOLTSFJFJFNDBDK— grayson graves (@gaudysphinx) June 27, 2022
AVS WON THE CUP FUCK TAMPA— ashlee celeste (@ashceleste_) June 27, 2022
W Avs Fuck the Lightning— Travis Lavigne (@TravisLavigne) June 27, 2022
I’m sure all of us NHL fans said fuck Tampa GO AVS!!— Uncle Bets (@betod_) June 27, 2022
boa avs!— Anytt | few3h spoilers! (@anyttoffuego) June 27, 2022
FUCK TAMPA BAY https://t.co/DTpzMvwThG
So happy for the AVS and FUCK TAMPAAAA— LFGYANKS #RepBX 53-20 (@NyyFanSince97) June 27, 2022
FUCK TAMPA LFG AVS!!!!!!!! WINNERS— SKY DEADROCKS (@falconsolaris) June 27, 2022
Avs win fuck everybody else pic.twitter.com/slLM9mqEtd— FB Bets (@FB_Betss) June 27, 2022