After spending several months in NHL bubbles in Toronto and then Edmonton and finally winning the Stanley Cup, it's understandable that the Tampa Bay Lightning wanted to celebrate.
Who wouldn't want to take in the achievement with their fans at parties and parades? The Lightning aimed to commemorate the championship in a socially-distant manner that followed safety protocols during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The party didn't QUITE start that way, however.
Much like the Capitals in 2018 bringing the Cup to the people, videos have surfaced of similar interactions between Tampa players and the general public. COVID-19 protocols were not exactly in order at first. That was obvious in a tweet that showed players allowing fans to drink out of the Stanley Cup one by one. Few masks or even basic sanitation going on here.
Probably a questionable decision all the way around in a state that was battered by the virus all summer. Lightning center Alex Killorn thanked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for opening bars just in time for the players to come home and celebrate. Killorn is referring to the decision to bring indoor dining up to 100% capacity in the state.
Indoor dining -- especially at crowded bars -- has been proven to be one of the easiest ways for the virus to spread throughout the population.
Technically, the players and fans celebrating are not breaking any laws. Florida has essentially lifted all COVID-19 protocols despite the pandemic continuing to be a prevalent problem across the country, especially in the South and the Midwest.
But after spending months in a bubble following strict protocols to ensure that they could have a chance at the Stanley Cup, most of that went out the window on the return home. It was a jarring site, one that harkened back to better days. The Lightning were done with the bubble and came home with the Cup in a bizarre season some thought might not have a conclusion. Now, let's hope no one got sick from the party.