The Insider is back on tampabaylightning.com for the 2009-10 season. I’m coming to you from sunny, but brisk Regina, Saskatchewan. The rain we had last night is gone and it should be good weather for the game tonight. They are expecting a sellout crowd of around 7,000 here at the Brandt Center and the smaller rink should make for a great atmosphere.
Yesterday the Lightning left Tampa at 2 p.m. for a four-hour flight to Regina. It was interesting watching out the window of the plane as all that was visible was prairie, then all of a sudden an airport. If you have access to Google Earth just take a look at Regina and you'll see what I mean. Not a lot going on in the out-lying areas.
With five games in five days, the Lightning is carrying a 41-man roster. Today the game-group had a 10:30 a.m. morning skate followed by the Senator ice at 11:30am. The non-game group then skated at 1:30 p.m. The rink is open to the public and there were plenty of Lightning fans in attendance. Maybe some followers of Vincent Lecavalier, who played in prep school at Notre Dame prep under coach Terry O’Malley.
Antero Niittymaki will start in goal for the Lightning tonight, and most likely give way to Riku Helenius, who will make is preseason debut. Also in the line-up tonight for Tampa Bay are Lukas Krajicek, Ty Wishart, Kurtis Foster, Matt Walker, Steve Downie, Carter Ashton, Drew Miller, Todd Fedoruk, Adam Hall, Brandon Bochenski, Matt Smaby, Ryan Craig, Paul Szczechura, Dana Tyrell, James Wright, Martins Karsums, Brett McLean and Matt Lashoff.
Walker will be making his Lightning debut after sitting out the team’s first two preseason games with a lower-body ailment. And Fedoruk, aka, Fridge, returns to Regina where he spent part of his junior career playing for the Regina Pats of the WHL.
Ottawa, who will be playing their second to last game of the preseason, is fielding a strong line-up that includes Filip Kuba, Jason Spezza, Alex Kovalev and Jonathan Cheechoo just to name a few.
Make sure to catch the game with Dave Mishkin on 620 WDAE tonight. More to come tomorrow from Everett, Washington where the Bolts will face-off against the Phoenix Coyotes.