Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals 2004: 04
The Stanley Cup Journal

Preparing for their appearance on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,' Lightning victors Vincent Lecavalier, John Grahame, Dan Boyle and Nolan Pratt pose backstage with another special guest.
'O.J. Simpson is doing a lot of TV interviews this week to mark the tenth anniversary of the murder of his wife, Nicole. Say what you want about O.J., he's a husband who remembers anniversaries!'

For twelve years, 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' has been a staple of late night television viewing, boasting great guests and phenomenal ratings. When the show called and asked the world champion Tampa Bay Lightning to bring the Stanley Cup to California for an appearance on the show, there wasn't a moment of hesitation.

The original visit was to occur on Tuesday; the night after Tampa Bay's decisive Stanley Cup victory on June 7. But that appearance was postponed and Thursday, June 10 was selected instead.

At seven that morning, Dan Boyle, John Grahame, Vincent Lecavalier and Nolan Pratt flew to Los Angeles, making a brief stop in Memphis on the way. A limousine and van sent by the National Hockey League met the boys with their Cup at the airport and transported them to their Beverly Hills hotel.

The Lightning had barely taken the wrappers off their drinking glasses when staff from 'The Tonight Show' arrived to whisk the players to beautiful downtown Burbank and the taping of the immensely popular late night show.

'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' is taped live each weekday afternoon at 4:30, then airs at 11:30 that same night. Thursday, the Stanley Cup and Tampa's Boyle, Grahame, Lecavalier and Pratt shared the stage with Leno and a sensational line-up of guests. Vin Diesel, whose latest film 'The Chronicles of Riddick' had just been released was on the show, as were Nicole Richie from television's wacky reality show 'Simple Life' and country sensation Julie Roberts, who performed her smash hit, 'Wake Up Older.'

The night's stars: Dan Boyle, John Grahame, Vincent Lecavalier, actor Vin Diesel, host Jay Leno, and Nolan Pratt.
The Lightning players performed a skit that parodied airport security. For some perplexing reason, the metal detector kept indicating a problem, and before long, the players were stripped down to their boxer shorts and jerseys. And then, airport security realized what was it was that was setting off the metal detector — the Stanley Cup!

The likeable Leno then talked to the champions. He spoke with Lecavalier about his burgeoning modeling career. Vincent has appeared in GQ, Vanity Fair and in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. Jay also spoke with Dan Boyle about the fire that engulfed his Florida home earlier in the playoffs.

The players were given sticks and anytime they would ordinarily have felt inclined to applaud, they were to tap their sticks on the stage.

After the show successfully wrapped at 5:45, Jay Leno came over and got some photographs with the Tampa Bay Boys and the Stanley Cup. "Jay's a great guy," remarked John Grahame.

Staff members from 'The Tonight Show' huddle around the Stanley Cup and Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier, John Grahame, Nolan Pratt and Dan Boyle following their appearance on Thursday, June 10.
The Stanley Cup was placed in the back of a limousine and, with the Lightning in tow, made its way from Burbank to downtown Los Angeles for dinner at The Ivy, one of the city's premier restaurants. Once a favoured destination for Nancy and Ronald Reagan, the French countryside look of the Robertson Boulevard eatery was used for scenes in the Danny DeVito film, 'Get Shorty.'

The Stanley Cup was flown back to Florida, where it was scheduled to be the guest of honour at a Disney World parade, but owing to the death of Former President Reagan, the parade was postponed. In the meantime, after Leno and dinner at The Ivy, the Lightning were visiting the infamous Playboy Mansion, but looked at nothing but the articles.

Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Lightning chartered a plane that took Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards, John Tortorella and Philip Pritchard, the Hockey Hall of Fame's Keeper of the Cup, from Florida to Toronto for the annual NHL Awards on Thursday night. The Lightning emerged armed with more silverware than a hotel kleptomaniac. Coach Tortorella was recipient of the Jack Adams Award as coach of the year. Martin St. Louis won the Art Ross as NHL scoring leader, the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player as well as the Pearson for the MVP selected by the players. Brad Richards, of course, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP on June 7, but also carried out the Lady Byng Trophy as the NHL's most gentlemanly player.

The Stanley Cup stayed behind for another evening on the town in Tampa Thursday night. Led by veterans Dave Andreychuk, Darryl Sydor and Tim Taylor, the Lightning toured a parade of limousines through the city's streets, much to the absolute delight of the fans en route. For a city referred to as a non-traditional hockey town, the Stanley Cup has quickly become amazingly popular in Florida's city of champions.

Join the Stanley Cup Journal on Wednesday when the Lightning get goofy at Disney World.

Kevin Shea is the Hockey Hall of Fame's Manager of Special Projects and Publishing.

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