Anthony Cirelli is a chief instance of Lightning’s tight-knit tradition


TAMPA — Ask Anthony Cirelli across the Lightning locker room and one phrase comes up greater than the others:

dependable.

However once you hear his teammates and coaches speak concerning the 24-year-old ahead, you perceive his deep admiration for them – the fervour with which he performs on the ice and his quirky nature, no work beneath that There’s, how conversations with him could make you smile, chuckle, and suppose deeply in the identical breath, and the way he’ll give punches to defending teammates or giving birthday presents to their youngsters.

“He is only a penny man on the ice, off the ice,” stated assistant coach Derek Lalonde. “Individuals comprehend it, individuals respect it and other people do not take it flippantly. He’s undoubtedly a particular one. ,

Final month, the workforce gathered on the rescue workforce’s Ryan McDonagh’s residence on Easter Sunday, with solely the Easter Bunny lacking. A fancy dress was prepared, however a volunteer was wanted. With little youngsters on a workforce with so many gamers, there weren’t many choices.

Like he does with so many roles on Ice, Cirelli jumped in head first. The gown was a bit unhealthy. The highest wasn’t utterly tied within the again, the rabbit’s head was tangled and Cirelli’s hair did not cover, so some youngsters took a double take.

“Some youngsters had been like, ‘That is not that. That is not the Easter Bunny,’ ‘trigger they may see my sneakers popping out of the gown,’ Cirelli stated. “I imply, the pinnacle was type of on and off; It was somewhat huge.”

Anthony Cirelli (71) sets in front of Panthers goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky (72) during the second period of Game 2.
Anthony Cirelli (71) units in entrance of Panthers goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky (72) in the course of the second interval of Sport 2. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

However Cirelli offered it, taking photos holding his basket filled with eggs, waving and cheering youngsters as they went down an inflatable slide.

“It was all enjoyable and video games,” Cirelli stated. “No query, I used to be undoubtedly going to do it. … We’ve got numerous youngsters on our workforce. After I first acquired right here, extra so now. And I acquired to know all of them somewhat bit So it is good to place a smile on their face and simply type of hang around with them.”

And Cirelli acquired good evaluations from his effort:

“Tony has all the time been nice with households and little ones and issues like that,” McDonagh stated. “It was undoubtedly a deal with. The children soaked it up. They liked it, and he performed the function superbly.”

In 5 NHL seasons, Cerelli has established himself as one of many recreation’s prime two-way forwards, constantly in talks for the Selke Award.

Whether or not it is anchoring the penalty kill unit, which has been top-of-the-line this submit season, cornering the nook, shifting the tempo on the forecheck, trampling an opponent, making an attempt to rattle a teammate, hitting the ice. Blocking pictures on one aspect or making one on the display in entrance of the online on the opposite, Cirelli appears to be doing all of it for Lightning.

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Cirelli’s spin-o-rama purpose in Sport 6 of the first-round collection win over Toronto was probably the most jaw-dropping performs of the workforce’s later season. With middle Breyden level out attributable to harm within the final two video games, Cirelli is shifting up between the highest traces, growing the quantity of snow. His 20:41 win over the Panthers in Sport 2 of Thursday’s second-round was the third-highest amongst Lightning forwards.

Anthony Cirelli (71) spins around Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano (55) to shoot the puck for a short-handed goal in Game 6 of the first-round series.
Anthony Cirelli (71) spins round Maple Leafs defenseman Mark Giordano (55) to shoot the puck for a short-handed purpose in Sport 6 of the first-round collection. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

“He is somebody who tries to do all the pieces the suitable method,” stated defenseman Zach Bogosian. “And as a participant, you clearly respect how onerous he works and he’s a competitor and can actually do something to win. If you see somebody doing this, it is simple to fall in line or comply with by way of, just because you realize he is doing issues that not many individuals want to do. And he is doing it a number of occasions with a smile on his face or a joke about it.

When he was first beginning out, Cirelli would get good-natured ribbing from seasoned teammates about how usually Lightning coaches would spotlight his performs in his movie evaluations.

“As a coach, you’ll be able to by no means have a favourite, however individuals know I’ve a favourite,” Lalonde joked. “They choose up on me. Early in my profession, all of the optimistic clips had been from Cerelli and he would later take an entire thrashing from individuals. So I intentionally downplayed it. However it’s onerous to not.

“He simply cares. He loves individuals, he loves being round individuals. He is only a man you wish to be round.”

Ahead Pat Maroon likes the outspoken aspect of Cirelli, who might be chirping within the locker room together with his good good friend Level.

“All of us type of simply sit down and have enjoyable with it,” Maroon stated. “He has a terrific character. He is a terrific child. And that is what’s nice about our locker rooms with individuals like Anthony … you’ll be able to simply go and have a very good dialog with him, and it charts From can flip right into a deep or unusual or one thing.

Anthony Cirelli, left, and Braden Point speak to media after their Game 6 win over Toronto.  The two are good friends away from the arena.
Anthony Cirelli, left, and Braden Level communicate to media after their Sport 6 win over Toronto. The 2 are good pals away from the world. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

When requested why his friends are so drawn to him, he shrugs and says that his dad and mom, Maria and Rocco, raised him to work onerous and deal with individuals proper. Cirelli stated the workforce bond grew after the sacrifices required to win the Stanley Cup constantly.

Cerelli stated, “Exterior of hockey, if anybody wants something, they should do something for me, I am there to assist and I believe it is for everybody on our workforce. ” “When you want a favor or want one thing right here or there, they’re all the time there for you. …

“You’ll be able to see how a lot of a gaggle we’re hooked up to. Everyone seems to be adamant on one another. We do not let anybody mess with our workforce, particularly on the ice. … I believe we have most likely come very near what we have been by way of within the final two years.

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