Lightning players celebrate Stanley Cup on Instagram from NHL bubble (VIDEOS)

Sep 29 2020, 10:24 am

After years of great regular seasons followed up by disappointment in the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Lightning finally got over the hump.

Prior to the NHL bubble experiment, many questions persisted. What would hockey look like without fans? Would teams be rusty after nearly four months off? Would the Stanley Cup be meaningful?

The answer to the last question was answered emphatically on Monday, with Lightning players as overjoyed as any recent Stanley Cup winner. Everyone misses having fans in attendance, but there’s no doubt that this year’s playoffs was a grind — perhaps more than any other in NHL history given the mental and physical strain caused by the bubble and a condensed schedule.

But it did look different than usual.

To start with, Lightning players surrounded NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman prior to being presented with the Cup.

“This Stanley Cup will go down in the record books as perhaps the hardest run of all time,” said Bettman. “You guys should all be incredibly proud. This has been an amazing accomplishment.”

Bettman handed the Cup to Steven Stamkos, the Tampa Bay captain who had been waiting a long time to lift hockey’s greatest prize. Stamkos was injured for almost the entire Cup run, playing just 2:47 in Game 3 — long enough for him to score a big goal for his team.

Players celebrated with their teammates of course, but many turned to their phones for video chats with loved ones while on the ice. Without independent media in the bubble, the champagne-filled dressing room celebration was most closely reported on by the players themselves, with many of them uploading videos to Instagram.

Here’s a look at some of the best dressing room celebrations from Rogers Place in Edmonton:

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STAMMER TIME!!!!!!!!

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YOU HEARD THE MAN!!! @shattdeuces

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“lightweight, baby! lightweight!”

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DRINK UP BOYS!!!

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champs, baby 🍾

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absolute elation. 🏆😍

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Absolute scenes. 🍾 #StanleyCup

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