Hey, everyone! I'm Diana C. Nearhos, and I've been covering the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Tampa Bay Times for 16 months. Before that, I reported on minor league hockey (AHL and ECHL) in Glens Falls, N.Y. 

I'm at almost every practice and game, including on the road (checking in from L.A. this morning!), so I see a lot of hockey. Tampa Bay is a smaller NHL market, but the Lightning have been one of the league’s best teams for the past five years — so there’s always something interesting happening. 

My first year on the beat was spent covering a historic season as the Lightning ran away with the regular-season title only to collapse in the playoffs. This year, they’re trying to be a more well-rounded team, and it’s mostly working — Monday’s loss in Dallas being an example of when it isn’t. 

I also live on tea (and post my pregame tea to Twitter each game), and spend a lot of my travel time reading (to the tune of about 180 books a year). 

Ask me about hockey, journalism, tea, books, anything!

Proof

EDIT: Thanks for all the questions, everyone! I'm off to get ready for morning skate. I'll check back in later this afternoon to answer more questions. In the meantime ... check out my work at tampabay.com/lightning and I'm always taking questions on Twitter. If there's interest, we'll do this again before the playoffs.

2ND EDIT: I've answered another round of questions but need to actually write now. Thank you everyone for all of the questions. This has been fun! Consider signing up for our Lightning Strikes newsletter to get a weekly hit of updates in your inbox.

Comments: 159 • Responses: 63  • Date: 

Scrembopitus19 karma

Huge bolts fan here! You should pop over to /r/TampaBayLightning and check out some of the paintings we do on MSPaint before every game. It was a tradition we started right before the recent 10 game win streak.

Which player do you think has taken over Girardi’s sense of humor in the locker room? Has anyone stepped up to the “class clown” role since he left?

dnearhos26 karma

My fiance, who is the redditer of the family, was telling me about the MSPaint drawings last night. I'll definitely be checking them out. I'd like to get more involved in r/TampaBayLightning in general.

I don't think anyone can match Girardi's sense of humor.

Scrembopitus10 karma

I absolutely love his podcast and couldn’t imagine anyone would be able to replace both his style of humor and just how funny he is.

You’re always welcome. Joe Smith has also started getting on reddit as well, and he received a really warm welcome over there. A lot of us follow your twitter accounts closely so we can share information to redditors as well. Thanks for all you do, go bolts!

dnearhos11 karma

I appreciate that. I don't want to be a link-dropper so want to make sure I can actually contribute to conversations.

Lumpy30618 karma

What's Stamkos like in real life? I want to believe he's super down to earth.

dnearhos27 karma

Stamkos is great from a media perspective. He is nearly always available to talk and will talk about nearly any topic. He understands that we have jobs to do and that sometimes he'll have answered a question on the road and get asked the same question by someone else when they get home.

null1ng14 karma

How has the team attitude changed from the beginning of the season to now?

dnearhos15 karma

There's definitely growing confidence. In November, when the recurring theme was mistakes turning into goals against, there was a sense of inevitability around that. Like, the odds were just against them not just when they made a mistake but on flukey bounces, etc. Once they got on a role, the feel of expecting to win came back.

I said above that the biggest problem is the difficulty in tweaking habits and they get that. Brayden Point said it well on Monday: "We're just maybe trying to make a little bit of high-risk plays and we were playing smart before and that's why we were having success.”

allaboutthatpuc12 karma

What do you think is the biggest problem with the team this season?

dnearhos15 karma

They're trying to tweak things to be more responsible with the puck and defensively. It involves changing some habits and that's hard to do (in hockey or IRL). When they fully commit, they're a great team (a la the 10-game win streak). But they have let those habits back in, like all of the turnovers on Monday night. They need to manage their risks. They have the skill to be aggressive without the risks, but sometimes they get ahead of themselves.

kiruarracca11 karma

What is Kucherov like in person? How willing is he to answer questions? It seems to come off like he is incredibly uncomfortable with the media process.

dnearhos18 karma

Kucherov doesn't like talking about himself. He doesn't like talking about anyone/anything when he's unhappy with himself and how he's played. That meant that for much of the first half of the season, he didn't say much and walked away from interview requests a few times.

But when he does talk, I always learn something. He has a great hockey mind, so I like talking to him when he's willing. It's tough when he's not.

sunnydrivetime2 karma

Why do you think reporters continue to ask him questions about himself when it's clear that he doesn't want to answer them? It seems to make the interviews even more awkward.

dnearhos9 karma

It’s part of his job to speak to the media. It’s part of my job to ask him questions. He is a superstar about whom fans want to know. In order to tell them about him, I ask him questions. Someone else here asked probing questions. I try to be respectful in how I ask questions, but asking them is my job.

ConquerWyoming10 karma

I've seen a number of people saying that Jeff Vinik is the best owner in sports and the Glazers, um, maybe not so much and the Rays situation is certainly intriguing. What's the general vibe in Tampa these days about how the ownerships compare?

dnearhos16 karma

You've pretty much got it right there. The Lightning fans and Tampa Bay in general have an interesting relationship with Jeff Vinik. He certainly hasn't positioned himself as a face of the organization and yet fans openly credit him for how well the team has done. The other ownerships .... much less so. It helps that he and the Lightning have really established themselves as a part of the community in a strong way.

danarchyy9 karma

Isn’t Brayden Point the cutest?

dnearhos14 karma

Point is high on my list because he is always willing to talk. He didn't try to get out of talking to reporters after his turnover became the OT game-winner on Monday, or after he was benched for a game after missing a team meeting.

CarlosAVP7 karma

Do you think the expansion team in Seattle should be called, “Rain City Bitch Pigeons”? If not, why do you hate puppies and kittens so much?

dnearhos8 karma

Somehow, I don't think they're going to go for that one.

FalstaffsMind7 karma

Is there some background story for why the Lightning moved on from Domingue? Or was it really some advanced analytics crap?

dnearhos9 karma

BriseBois said it was a matter of looking ahead at next year's salary cap. He wanted to get their next backup before they needed him, reasoning that they'd pay less when they had the leverage.

He wasn't wrong that they wouldn't be able to afford Domingue when his contract expired. But a good player got a really raw end of that deal.

FalstaffsMind2 karma

I am not sure that makes sense. Domingue makes less than McElhinney and wasn't necessarily due a big pay day.

dnearhos7 karma

Domingue makes less than McElhinney, now. But this move was looking ahead to his next contract. He's not due a major payday, but he is due a small one, or at least he would have been. When last season ended, he had out-played his small contract. Another year like where he left off, and he might have earned a spot in a shared crease. That, combined with another salary cap crunch this offseason, is why the Lightning weren't going to bring him back after this season. They decided to sign a new backup while they had leverage of not necessarily needing him.

I'm not sure I agree with the move, but that's why they made it.

JtBrownEliteSniper6 karma

In your opinion what move(s) are made at the deadline?

dnearhos7 karma

I don't see the Lightning making a major move. GM Julien BriseBois is not a big fan of rentals, based on his comments to us about how teams end up giving up too much for not enough success. We might see a or maybe some small moves, but I'll be surprised if it's something big.

DrDizzle935 karma

Favorite Nickelback song?

dnearhos11 karma

Hm ... I'm really not sure I have one. Photograph is the first song that comes to mind. But I can't say I've ever sought it out, or any Nickelback song.

DrDizzle932 karma

I honestly wasn't asking that as a troll question. I ask it on all AMA's I find interesting in an attempt to find legit NB fans. Of course, Nickelback songs are played often at hockey games (Animals, Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting), Because Of You, Burn It To The Ground, etc.) so people who say they "hate" Nickelback may like their songs and not know it.

Serious question though: With the onslaught of coach firings earlier this season, a darker side of the locker room has been revealed. In the season and a half you spent with the Bolts, has there been a noticeable change in the locker room atmosphere after the news of the firings?

dnearhos6 karma

I'd say I'm indifferent on Nickelback. I know I hear their songs, but I don't necessarily know them. If that makes sense.

I haven't seen a change in the Lightning's room relevant to the coaching firings. Cooper's style is more teaching than yelling, so he's pretty far from the line as far as I can tell. There was definitely some discussion of the abuse revealed, especially in juniors, within the room, but nothing immediately relevant to this team.

valkz0r2 karma

favorite creed song?

dnearhos7 karma

Ooof I had to pull up Creed songs to answer this one. The one that popped out was "With Arms Wide Open" but again, I've never sought it out.

justincase_20084 karma

What did you think when you were first told you would be covering Tampa?

dnearhos9 karma

My first thought was a rather expletive-laced version of "oh my god, I got a job covering the NHL!"

Before this job my previous experience with Tampa was the 2012 Frozen Four. The city did a great job hosting that event, better than the other FFs I'd been to. So that was really what I knew about this city and hockey.

justincase_20085 karma

Follow up I also know a lot about tea. At practices could i just be your tea assistant and watch the team practice when not in Brandon lol

dnearhos3 karma

Haha. Where do you get your tea? I like Tebella, but I'm always looking for new teas to try.

APungentFart3 karma

What are your thoughts on Matcha?

Who's one player in the TBL system who you think is a major breakout candidate in coming seasons?

dnearhos8 karma

I am a huge fan of matcha. I travel with a battery-powered frother and a sifter so I can make it on the road (my fiance gave me a 100-pack of single serve packets for Christmas)

Cal Foote is the most obvious one. If the Lightning weren't so deep at defenseman right now, he could have gotten a look with injuries.

irritatedellipses3 karma

Apologies if this is too big of a question, but can you take us through a typical start-of-season? After producing off season content on trades and signings, what happens when you get the schedule? Are you planning out routes / hotels? Do you already have story beats you want to hit after seeing the first few team practices?

dnearhos3 karma

I don't necessarily start planning my travel that early, because I don't know the team's schedule yet. Usually, we can assume that they'll travel each night after a game and practice in the next city. But they change it up just enough to keep us guessing (this week, they practiced in Dallas on Tuesday and then flew to LA).

The preseason is a matter of getting a feel for the changes. This year, all the major pieces of the roster were still in place but the changes still tweak the dynamic of the team some.

I always have a list of story ideas going. Coming out of the season, through the off season, into the preseason and then through the regular season, there's a constantly adapting list of stories. Sometimes things change and the ideas aren't relevant, so I toss them, but there are always more. If I were to run out, my editors have their own lists to share.

occupydad3 karma

Top 3 books you read while traveling last year?

dnearhos2 karma

Oh I'm really bad at naming my top books. Salt Houses by Hala Alyan was very good, as was The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar, and Everyone Knows You Go Home by Natalia Sylvester. There are definitely others, but those pop out on a quick scroll through my Goodreads.

niceguybry3 karma

What do you think is the most important factor for the team for the 2020 playoffs. What will it take for them to be successful?

Edit- also black or green tea? & favourite hockey book?

dnearhos9 karma

The tweaks they've been making to be more responsible with the puck and defensively are aimed at the playoffs. Sticking to those principles and peaking at the right time will be key for this year's playoff run.

The Lightning got comfortable last year. Winning became easy for them, so they just felt like it would keep happening. But they ran into a team that was really working and couldn't catch up. They need to be the team that is really working.

dnearhos4 karma

Black and green tea, but I drink more black. Unless it's matcha. I travel with a kinda absurd matcha kit.

As for favorite hockey books ... Favorite nonfiction about the sport is probably Sports Illustrated's collection titled "Hockey Talk" but my favorites overall are unconventional choices: Fredrik Backman's "Bear Town" and Richard Wagamese's "Indian Horse."

cracksilog2 karma

I’ve read that a big part of the reason why the NHL moved into the South (Panthers, Lightning, Hurricanes, and Thrashers before they left) was because there were a lot of transplants and retirees that wanted hockey since they were from traditional hockey states. Is that reflective of the people that show up to games? As in is there a big contingency of Rangers fans when the Rangers come to town?

dnearhos2 karma

There are to some extent — you definitely see the Chicago and Pittsburgh natives come out. But hockey has spread though some of these cities better than others, Tampa being one of the better ones. The Lightning have a lot of Florida-born hockey fans.

svanxx2 karma

As someone who worked in Glens Falls for a year, how much did you enjoy the hockey atmosphere there?

I went to about 15 to 20 games while I lived there and it was one of my favorite sports atmosphere ever.

dnearhos5 karma

Okay, I have to ask where you're from that you went to 15-20 games there because most people don't know GF.

The Glens Falls Civic Center (now the Cool Insuring Arena) is an old barn that on one hand seems out of date and on the other hand makes for a great place to watch a game. The crowd is right on top of the ice, so even if it's half full, it feels bigger.

The fan support of the teams I covered (Phantoms, Flames, Thunder) never matched that of the Adirondack Red Wings back in the 80s and 90s, so I can only imagine what that looked like.

a_horse_has_no_name2 karma

I used to write for the Post-Star. I used to have season tickets back when they were still the UHL Ice Hawks. I also might have PTSD from the Adirondack winters.

svanxx3 karma

I worked for Tribune Media Services, doing the TV Listings information. Sounds interesting, until you realize that they put me on the most boring channels and my whole time there was pretty awful.

The best part of working in GF was watching the hockey games. The city was nice too, despite, like you said, being in the middle of a winter nightmare.

But I live in Nebraska now and it's just as bad, if not worse than winters in upstate NY.

dnearhos3 karma

My fiancé’s mother worked in sales at Tribune and my fiancé did a few months of essentially data entry and resizing movie posters, so I know what you mean.

dnearhos1 karma

Small world. I love finding other PS alumni! (EDIT for typo)

svanxx2 karma

I'm from Florida originally, so I'm a Lightning fan, but most of my mother's family is from upstate NY north around the Albany area.

I just happened to live in Upstate NY about 30 minutes south of Glens Falls for a year around 2001-2002 and there was nothing to do except go to hockey games after when I worked in Glens Falls. They were Adirondack IceHawks back then, but they had a lot of Red Wings history still.

Also I miss the Dog Shack, still the best hot dogs I've ever had anywhere.

dnearhos4 karma

I was in GF for five years and met my fiance there. We go back to visit his family, so I'll always have a tie there. Plus, my all-time favorite bookstore is Northshire in Saratoga. It wasn't there when you lived there, but if you go back, I highly recommend it.

incockneato2 karma

Has there been any kind of internal culture shift since/because Yzerman left?

dnearhos6 karma

I didn't cover the team under Yzerman, but I don't believe there was a big difference. BriseBois had worked with Yzerman as AGM for eight years. So he wasn't the final decision-maker, but he was still helping to shape the Lightning for that time.

weequay11892 karma

How well has the Lightning adapted to Steve Yzerman leaving?

dnearhos4 karma

There isn't a big change because Julien BriseBois had been the assistant general manager for eight years. Even if Yzerman had final say, BriseBois had a hand in shaping the organization.

drmcmahon2 karma

Do you think we should make a trade or two before the deadline? I feel like standing pat last year was part of reason why the playoff disaster happened.

dnearhos2 karma

I don't think one player would have changed the playoff disaster, as you so aptly call it. That was a whole team mentality issue.

I don't like the idea of making a trade for the sake of doing something at the deadline. The Lightning have carefully managed their cap space so that they could make a trade, but it needs to be the right piece at the right cost. They do have an extra first-round pick to work with (J.T. Miller was traded for Vancouver's first, if they make the playoffs this year), so that could turn into something.

McJumbos2 karma

For all the bookworms all there, what are some of your favorite books to read? And, any books you are looking forward to reading in 2020?

dnearhos2 karma

I don’t read a lot of new releases in general, so nothing sticks out in that sense. I LOVE the Tortall series by Tamora Pierce - it’s an older YA series but I love the strong female characters. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a favorite, and amazing on audio. I also love People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

Rmd7702 karma

Would you still be covering hockey in Florida if your team was called the Tampa Bay Kraken?

dnearhos1 karma

I mean, yes. But I'd probably chirp that team.

djacrylick1 karma

What’s better, last row in lowers, or WC in uppers?

dnearhos3 karma

I've only watched one game at Amalie that wasn't from the press box and I was in the second to last row of the upper deck. Still a pretty good view.

[deleted]1 karma

[deleted]

dnearhos5 karma

The regular season was incredible to watch. Covering that season as my first on the beat was interesting. It seemed like every game, I was writing about a new milestone.

Then we got to the playoffs and as I said above the Lightning just expected to keep winning. Well, I did too. It seemed obvious they could just keep going. Then when they didn't the hindsight seemed obvious that they couldn't.

I am not a fan, so I actually enjoyed covering that playoff series because it was interesting. There was plenty to write about. I wouldn't necessarily call it fun, but it was interesting.

AnotherOldFart1 karma

I am a huge fan of the Lightening and I live in the Tampa Bay Area. I remember when they played at Florida Fair Grounds and Tropicana Field before we got a Baseball Team (the Rays).

I remember the Season Tickets for the Lightening were $99 and you could still see the players lol.

Q: Do the Lightening Players like the Tampa Bay area? Do you think they would permanently live in this area when the season and their careers are done?

I have been here 35+ yrs and came from Boston when Phil Esposito, Bobby Orr, Cashman, Hodge and a cast of many played in the 69's and 70's. Espo and a couple of others are still involved with the Bolts.

dnearhos1 karma

The players definitely like Tampa Bay area for their playing careers. The weather and lack of state income tax alone are marks in Tampa's favor, but the players also enjoy the city itself. As for living there permanently, some of them will, but many have close ties to where they grew up. You might see more players going back and forth as snowbirds.

nelsonsnow1 karma

How can I become a Hockey writer? Do I need to drink tea?

dnearhos2 karma

It's kinda like how you become a hockey player, you start small and work your way up. If you're actually trying to break into the industry, start at a local level and write what you can. If you are a student and have a school paper, write there. Try to freelance for local outlets. I spent five years covering the minors in a small town. Then I spent a year covering high schools in a small city before I got this job.

You don't have to drink tea, but life is always better if you do.

JelloBrickRoad1 karma

Whats your favorite Microsoft Program?

dnearhos2 karma

I'm pretty basic. I write in Word and sometimes sort stats in Excel.

ATLL21121 karma

What do think about the imminent implementation of the tracking data?

What will be the first revelations from the new data and how do you feel more progressive/analytically inclined teams will take advantage over some of the teams that haven't fully embraced it?

dnearhos1 karma

It'll be interesting to see how the tracking data works. This year there was an issue with the shot data that skewed a bunch of other stats. So I'll be a little skeptical of it until I see it used smoothly.

There's an interesting Moneyball effect. Teams don't like to talk about how they use analytics because they don't want anyone else to steal their methods. The theory here is after Moneyball was written, other teams did what the As did.

ATLL21121 karma

From what I understand the issue was worked out. I recall Micah McCurdy mentioning this issue early in the season, but shot location data was done via standard cameras up to now. It'll be done via specialized ones next year that pick up IR light emitted by the new pucks now iirc.

I think it's going to be a goldmine for smart teams. You're risky right about teams holding the analysis close though. It's why teams have been snapping up anybody who's anybody in the analytics community.

dnearhos1 karma

That issue was worked out, I used it as an example of new technology needing to get kinks out. It will be a gold mine once it's implemented and the kinks are worked out. How that process will go is just yet to be seen.

brandyyfit1 karma

You’ve answered about a few others so I’ll send my favorite out there - what’s Victor Hedman like?

Also thanks for doing this!

dnearhos2 karma

Hedman is also great with the media. He talked about every topic remotely related to Sweden too many times over before that trip. He rarely if ever turns down a request. His teammates call him one of the nicest guys in the league.

I enjoyed doing this AMA! I'd love to do another late in the season, if there's interest.

Norgeroff1 karma

What color is your toothbrush?

dnearhos2 karma

I have a silver quip

JudgeCastle1 karma

Since all fan bases are fickle bunch, beginning of the year we had a bunch of vocal folks saying Get rid of Coop, now it seems to have quieted down, especially after the most recent MS Paint driven winning streak.

Which side were you on?

After thought question, is there a report on how many pieces/packs of gum Coop chews each year?

dnearhos2 karma

I don't know if I'm on a side. I wasn't surprised that they didn't fire him. He and BriseBois stress the strong communication they have. They both believed in the tweaks they were making to the system and had a long-term approach.

yelpisforsnitches1 karma

Do the players look at our subreddit r/TampaBayLightning? If so, has there been any talks about our savior microsoft paint?

dnearhos3 karma

If they do, they don't talk about it. No player likes to admit he reads what's out there on social media or in the media.

enigma_hal1 karma

Not sure if too late, but I have a couple of things:

Do writers of other publications have much contact? Joe Smith, for example, works for the Athletic now, but used to work for the Times? Is there much interaction, or conversation on team issues?

Also, is there a unique bond with other female reporters/announcers, such as Caley Chelios?

Finally, how familiar are you (and the sports reporting community in general) with advanced analytics? It seems like the team uses them to help in their eval of how they are playing, but I see a lot of fans don't think much of them (seems to be more of a thing in baseball). Speaking of which, are you interested in other sports? Do you follow other Tampa teas, like Rays, Bucs, USF?

Thanks for your time.

dnearhos2 karma

Joe and I are friends and spent a lot of time together, especially on the road. We talk generally about the team, but not so much about what we're working on.

There can definitely be a unique bond with other women in the sport. It's not universal and I don't necessarily look to other women over men, but there's a camaraderie and sometimes we relate more to things each other are going through.

Claustrophobopolis1 karma

Thanks for this insight into Lightning hockey. My question is simple: Favourite all time hockey player and why?

dnearhos1 karma

I grew up on Boston College hockey, not the NHL, so I’m going have to say Brian Gionta. I’ll always associate him with that 2001 championship.

ATLL21121 karma

Still holds the Devils' franchise record for most goals in a single season with 48 in 05-06. Very impressive for a guy that most definitely was shorter than the 5'7" that he was listed as.

dnearhos1 karma

Most short guys are.

disiz_mareka1 karma

Which visiting teams have you found the most interesting or quirky? Do you go to the visiting teams locker rooms for interviews as well as the Lightning?

dnearhos2 karma

Usually I do, but always. It depends on the team and what stories I’m writing. No one sticks out as being especially quirky.

Tiddilion1 karma

Who do you think the best addition to the team this past off season has been? In terms of locker room presence.

dnearhos2 karma

Shattenkirk and Maroon have both been good additions. They both add some levity in moments and different forms of leadership. Plus Shattenkirk is a great interview.

Tiddilion1 karma

They both seem like they’ve fit in great with the team! I’m excited to see the team continue to gel. Thank you for the work you do and answering questions today. :)

dnearhos2 karma

It was fun to do this AMA. If there's interest, I'd be happy to do another later in the season

McJumbos1 karma

Knowing what you know now, how would you change your 1st day at work?

dnearhos2 karma

Eh, first days are first days. My paper made it easy on me and didn’t have me writing off my first game. I didn’t expect the head coach to pull me to the from of the interview scrum for first question, though. I wish o had something better prepared. I don’t even remember what I asked.

Khue1 karma

Hey Diana,

Talking about general hockey topics, often you hear critics talk about taking fighting out of the sport or doing things to promote scoring to align it more with the popular broadcast sports. What is your take on things like fighting in hockey and doing things to increase scoring?

Auxiliary follow up question, who do you side with on the subject of the NHL and the current stance with the Olympics?

dnearhos2 karma

I'm not a fan of fighting in hockey. I would rather see the game officiated well. And I'd rather see hockey moves to spark your team - make a big hit or something, don't throw fists.

I think NHL players belong in the Olympics. I recognize however that there's more at play than just deciding to do it. The bureaucracies in play need to figure it out -- mainly meaning the IOC, NHL and NHLPA.

Khue1 karma

To further the conversation a bit, I am in full support of the NHL's position withholding players from participating in the Olympics. The IOC is a pretty corrupt organization and they ask for takes without any gives. The NHL (owners) have an obligation to protect their interests and a two week disruption of the sport without any reciprocating benefits coming back to the NHL is pretty terrible. As it stands now, the NHL has to stop operations for the two week period of time and they get no broadcast rights. They are still obligated to pay player's insurance (conjecture, needs fact checking) and there is risk of the star players being injured outside of the league.

From the player's standpoint, I can understand the frustration and disappointment because the All-Star break is basically the same thing for them, the difference being the NHL owns and controls that media mouth piece.

My big wonder, is how this is going to play out within the next year or so with the CBA coming up for re-negotiation. Bettman said that he (the owners) would be willing to make concessions, but it's going to have to come at the sacrifice of the NHLPA which could cause things to get interesting.

dnearhos2 karma

I mostly agree about the IOC. I’d like to see them all come up with a way it works. When I say I believe NHL players belong in the Olympics, I should clarify that I don’t think it works in the current set up. I want them to make it work, because it makes for fun games.

fojiaotu1 karma

Do you find it difficult to ask hard or probing questions? Have you ever experienced pushback or punishment from the organizations you cover for asking uncomfortable questions?

dnearhos5 karma

Sometimes it's awkward asking someone why they screwed up, but you try to phrase it respectfully. Many of the players understand why you're asking.

I have gotten pushback. Nothing major, but it happens. Cooper pushed me when I asked why were were talking about "fixable mistakes" in Game No. 2 and still months later. I stood my ground, but I also figured part of it was him stalling to come up with the right answer.

Sometimes I ask silly questions and they give me good answers. There's some give and take.

McJumbos1 karma

where were you when they offered you the job and how were you feeling?

dnearhos2 karma

I was in my apartment in Knoxville, Tenn, where I was the high school sports editor at the time. I was excited and relieved. I had worked really hard for seven years to get this job offer. I had been rejected from smaller jobs many times along the way. I had started to wonder if it would happen. My now-fiance was with me and he was just as excited for me, having been with me for most of those years paying my dues. My parents sent me congratulations flowers.

ADGHill221 karma

Lightning Fan here! Super cool to see you do an AMA. Never read any of your stuff but I will start following now.

As someone that is watching all this hockey. What would you say to a new fan of the sport if they asked "what do the Lightning do better than the other teams?"

I ask this because sometimes I struggle to see the nuances of the game other people seem to point out so easily.

dnearhos3 karma

This AMA has been fun. I'd be up for another in a few months if people are interested. I hope you enjoy my work!

The Lightning are faster than most teams, not just in the speed they skate but in the speed they play. You can see it in the passes and shots they make. When you don't see an opening but then they get the puck through.

The issue is sometimes they get cocky and it catches up to them.

Obscene_Fetus1 karma

How will last year's end in the playoffs be looked at in retrospect as well as currently?

dnearhos3 karma

It will always be a thing. The 2019 Lightning will always be the team that ran away with the regular season and then collapsed in the playoffs. If they made a big run this year, it will mitigate it some, but only so much.

talbergo1 karma

What do you think changed in the game play of Yanni Gourde or Joeseph from last year to now. Is it a confidence thing? Just last game ( Dallas) Yanni was a part of a two on one in the offensive zone and immediately deferred the pass, which he just received, back essentially choosing not to take a shot when it clearly would have been the right move.

dnearhos5 karma

Gourde can't buy a goal in the last two months. You're right, he passed up an opportunity against Dallas. That was a good opportunity to shoot for a rebound if nothing else. If he didn't see a hole, he could have shot at the skate, maybe it bounces in, maybe it bounces out to Verhaeghe. His lack of goals has definitely gotten in Gourde's head at this point.

talbergo1 karma

Theoretically if Gourde waived his NMC (won’t happen I know) would it make sense to leave him open for trade considerations given his value is at a low or do you think we would leave him open for the expansion draft. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself because I certainly used to be a big doubter of Killorn but he is currently one of the most complete players on the team. Thank you so much for replying I love to talk hockey!

dnearhos1 karma

Because I don't see Gourde waiving his NTC, it's a moot point. But leaving someone open for trade considerations when his value is low doesn't make much sense, because you wouldn't get much in return.

It's too early to talk about the expansion draft, though.

Benedict-Awesome1 karma

I go to a lot of games and my question is simple: Can I come hang out in the media booth?

Ok jokes aside: What was your favorite game this year?

For me, it was the shootout win over the Kings. The arena was loud that night!

dnearhos2 karma

My colleague Mari Faiello and I joke about being on #teamme, meaning we root for ourselves more than anything else. So my favorite games are the ones that led to good stories.

That early Carolina game was a bad game but a good story. The 7-3 win over Toronto was fun because it was the first we saw the Stamkos-Point-Kucherov line. The two nine-goal games (against the Rangers and Canucks) were fun because ... nine goals. And the two games in Sweden had incredible atmosphere.

chikachikaReditshady1 karma

Hi Diana, I enjoy reading your stories! A few questions for you.

What team’s fans travels the best? What arena has the best environment? (best/most lively fans guess you could say) What arena is your favorite? What city is your favorite city to visit?
Any hockey book recommendations?

dnearhos5 karma

Thank you!

It's hard to say which team's fans travel the best because at Amalie, the Blackhawks/Penguins games have the most opposing fans and that's mostly because people have moved from those cities to the Tampa area. I'm never sure who is traveling and who are transplants.

I love the Bell Centre in Montreal. The fans there are great.

My favorite city to visit is Boston because I'm from there. I get to stay with my sister and see my friends when the Lightning play there.

I highly recommend Fredrik Backman's Bear Town and Richard Wagamese's Indian Horse.

Deadguy2322-1 karma

Do the owners realize those crappy blue uniforms make the team look like dollar-store Maple Leafs knockoffs?

dnearhos5 karma

I like the blue jerseys. Though when I see something on TV, I do every once in a while get the Leafs and Lightning mixed up at first glance.

The black ones are the bigger issue.

Davath0r-2 karma

What does Stamkos' jock smell like, and does he know your stealing them?

dnearhos3 karma

I've been critical of Stamkos when he deserved it. Recently, after a game they won, I pointed out how bad he was defensively. So, I'm not really sure what you're getting at here.