TAMPA — The greatest moment in Lightning history will be immortalized outside the location it took place.
The team revealed that a statue of former Tampa Bay captain Dave Andreychuk will be unveiled on the plaza outside The Forum on April 5. The statue will feature Andreychuk lifting the Stanley Cup over his head from the night Tampa Bay defeated Calgary 2-1 in Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup championship.
“We want to remember that moment as a community for sure this is a great way to do it,'' Andreychuk said. “Ultimately everybody holds the Stanley Cup but at the same time that was my moment, and to me and my family that was the ultimate goal. But at the same time it symbolizes our community's world championship.''
The statue will stand nearly nine-feet tall and weigh close to 600 pounds when it is completed. It is being constructed by sculptor Steven Dickey, who also created the statue of team founder Phil Esposito that is out on the Plaza.
Andreychuk said he was involved in the early stages of the process, getting some measurements done – trying to convince Dickey he was 20 pounds lighter then – but has not seen the sculpture since.
The announcement comes as the Lightning are set to host a reunion of the 2004 championship team this weekend with activities that will culminate being recognized during Monday's game against Vancouver and former head coach John Tortorella.
Monday marked the first time G Mike Smith returned to The Forum since leaving as a free agent following the 2010-11 season, though he has faced the Lightning twice, including a 6-3 win in Arizona on Nov. 16.
“There are a lot of memories I have from here,'' Smith said. “I enjoyed my time here in Tampa. I have a lot of friends that I will have for the rest of my life and it's nice to be able to come back and see some of those people.''
Though things did not work out as planned with the Lightning, the defining moment of his career came with Tampa when Smith was placed on waivers. He went unclaimed by the 29 other teams and spent nearly a month with Norfolk, then the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate coached by current Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, before being called back up.
“He was an NHL player for some time, had some great success and then to clear waivers and come down, that is a punch in the stomach,'' Cooper said. “When you ride the bus for a little while, it probably puts things in a little bit more perspective.
“I think he enjoyed his time there, but clearly I don't think he wanted to continue playing there. But I think it was confidence builder for him because he played so well, and then came up and continued his (strong) play. ...And he's definitely shown no signs that he will be going back to the minors, that's for sure.''
Smith reflected on that defining moment on Monday.
“It was a tough situation being sent to the minors,” he said. “It was one where I never thought I would play in the NHL again. So, I just made the best of the situation, tried to enjoy my time there with the guys, and then I got a second chance and I'm very fortunate for that.''
The Lightning will take part in the annual Cut for the Cure fundraising event Wednesday at 1 p.m. Tampa Bay players D Mark Barberio, LW Ondrej Palat, RW B.J. Crombeen and D Radko Gudas are scheduled to get their heads shaved for the charitable event, along with 30 additional Lightning staff members.
The event is closed to the public, but donations can be made on behalf of a player or staff member through May 2 here or by calling (813) 269-0955. All proceeds benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation and the Lightning Foundation.
Nuts and Bolts
D Sami Salo did not return to the game after blocking a shot on his third shift of the game. ... D Radko Gudas (lower body) missed his fourth consecutive game but took part in Monday's full morning skate. He's targeting a return on Thursday against Florida. ... LW Ryan Malone, RW B.J. Crombeen and RW Nikita Kucherov were scratched for Tampa Bay. ...C Steven Stamkos did not take part in Monday's morning skate as part of a scheduled maintenance day. Stamkos has played in two games after missing 45 with a broken leg. ... The Lightning have six of their nine shorthanded goals in the past 15 games. ... C Tom Pyatt and C Tyler Johnson will be at the McDonald's at 10019 W. Adamo Drive in Brandon as part of Lightning Hockey night, which is broadcast on 620 AM from 7 to 8 p.m.