Today is an interesting day to say the least for the Lightning. Let's start with this: after playing half a game on Friday night, the team bussed for 90 minutes to Philadelphia; and then after playing a full game on Saturday night, the team bussed 90 minutes back to New Jersey to play the "second half" of Friday's game.
Yes, the Lightning are in the same hotel they were in Thursday and Friday in Short Hills, New Jersey. No, the players aren't in the same rooms they were in for those nights. Yes, the team had a pre-game meal today at the hotel. No, the team did not have a morning skate or a pregame meeting this morning. Yes, Jeff Halpern is healthy and feeling fine after last night's Philadelphia game. No, Jeff Halpern can't play tonight. However, Matt Smaby, who suffered an upper body injury in the Flyers game will not be in the lineup tonight.
As part of the agreement reached between the two teams, the league and the players association, the "second half" of the game will be restarted tonight at 6:10pm at the same point in time the game was disrupted because of a power malfunction with the game lights at Prudential Center. It means the Lightning will step on the ice with a 3-0 lead over the Devils with 9:12 remaining in the second period. Playing rosters remain the same as those that the teams started with on Friday. However because Smaby was injured last night, he will be able to be replaced in the game. Look for either Andrej Meszaros or David Hale to play the "second half" for the Bolts. Jeff Halpern did not start the game on Friday, his final missed game with a lower body injury. So even though he played last night and is feeling fine, he will not be able to be in the lineup for coach Rick Tocchet.
As for broadcasting, yes, the "second half" will be televised on Sun Sports. No, Rick Peckham and Bobby Taylor won't be calling the play-by-play. More on that in a minute. Yes, the game will be on am620wdae, and yes, Dave Mishkin will be calling the play-by-play. Getting back on 620wdae was easier than getting on Sun Sports because production costs aren't nearly as high for radio as they are for television, Mishkin is with the team and 620wdae had the available airtime.
And while Sun Sports was able to clear the airtime for the TV signal to come back into the Tampa Bay market, being on the road, needing to secure a production truck and an engineering crew in just over 25 overs time (the actual lead time the networks had after the reschedule was formally announced), made things nearly impossible for Sun Sports. However, with the help of the NHL, it was able to broker an arrangement with Madison Square Network (the regional sports network that televises the Devils), after they were able to set up production of the game. The MSG feed will be available both in the New Jersey market and in theTampa Bay market. So yes, Lightning fans, you will be able to see the game on Sun Sports, but don't be surprised to see New Jersey's play-by-play team of Mike "Doc" Emrick and Glen "Chico" Resch, instead of Rick Peckham and Bobby Taylor.
Here's hoping for a smooth conclusion for the Bolts in the "second half," two points and an event-free flight home tonight.