As the Lightning begin to focus on the second half of the 2009-10 NHL regular season, the team finds itself in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff chase, holding down the ninth position with 42 points, just three points behind the Montreal Canadiens and the New York Rangers, both of whom have played more games than the Bolts.
Today’s morning skate at the HSBC Center was very uneventful as head coach Rick Tocchet indicated that the team will ice the same lineup tonight that it has for the past few games, including Mike Smith in goal. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? Smitty was just named the NHL’s number two star of the week and his confidence level is high. So let’s hope the Lightning can continue playing well and create some havoc in front of the net for Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, who Tocchet called “one of the top two goaltenders in the league right now.”
It was good seeing old friend and former Bolt defenseman Grant Ledyard at the morning skate today. He greeted Marty St. Louis with a big hug and had smiles for all of his former friends on the Lightning. Ledyard now works for the Sabres in youth hockey development and he coaches one of the top amateur teams in the area.
Ledgy as he was known by his teammates joined the Lightning in the summer of 2000 and he worked with Dave Andreychuk, Tim Taylor and former Lightning coach John Tortorella to change the locker room culture in Tampa Bay. Although he was not with the Bolts for division championships or Stanley Cup, his veteran leadership helped lay the groundwork for the team’s future successes. He deserves credit for that.
Tonight’s game faces off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on Sun Sports and AM 620 WDAE. In fact, every game on the current three-game road trip will begin at 7 p.m.