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About the playoffs

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 10, 2003

FORMAT: The top eight teams in each conference compete in best-of-seven series with division winners receiving the top three seeds. The higher seed hosts the first two games, the lower seed the next two and then they alternate home games until there is a winner. Teams must win three series to advance to the Stanley Cup final.

STANLEY CUP: The oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes, it goes to the team that wins the NHL championship.

CONN SMYTHE TROPHY: Named for the longtime owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the award goes to the most valuable player of the playoffs. The recipient is selected by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Following the Lightning

TELEVISION: Most of the opening-round series will be carried by Sunshine Network with Rick Peckham on the play-by-play announcer and Bobby "Chief" Taylor as analyst. Mike Nabors serves as rinkside reporter. He will host a half-hour show, Lightning Ice Time, before other games on Sunshine. Ch. 28 will televise Saturday's game with an ABC broadcast crew.

RADIO: David Mishkin is the Lightning play-by-play voice on WDAE-AM 620. Former Lightning general manager Phil Esposito serves as analyst for home games. Broadcasts begin with a 30-minute pregame show and end with a 30-minute postgame show.

WEB SITES: The Lightning's official Web site is The Times has a special Lightning area on its site,

FAN CLUB: Call (813) 814-2658 for information. The mailing address is P.O. Box 20394, Tampa, FL 33622.

About the St. Pete Times Forum

ADDRESS: 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa.

SEATING CAPACITY: 19,758 for hockey.

FOOD/DRINK: Fans may not bring food and drink into the arena, but concessions are available. Also, the XO Club is a special season ticket level with food and drink included and Shots at Channelside is a sports and entertainment bar on the west side of the building.

CAMERAS: Still cameras are allowed as long as they don't have detachable lenses. No video cameras or camera bags.

SECURITY: Bags, backpacks, laser pointers, weapons, bottles, cans, sharp objects, sticks, poles, fireworks, pepper spray, mace, food, beverages and wrapped gifts are prohibited. Fans are subject to search at all entries. You'll move through more quickly if you avoid bringing bags or purses.

SMOKING: It is prohibited in the building, but smoking is allowed outside exits behind section 126/128, behind section 212 and behind section 326/328. Fans can exit and re-enter the building during events at those areas.

AUTOGRAPHS: Players enter and leave through Gate D. Some stop to sign autographs before and/or after games.

POWER PLAY: THE ENTERTAINMENT ZONE: The area opens two hours before home games on the main plaza west of the St. Pete Times Forum. It allows fans to show their form in activities such as a hockey slapshot and a bungee run.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?: The St. Petersburg Times bought naming rights to the arena formerly known as the Ice Palace in September, paying $30-million over 12 years to rename it the St. Pete Times Forum. Palace Sports & Entertainment continues to run the team and the arena.

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