The Lightning returned home from their previous four-game road trip and there seems to be a media buzz about the team. The locker room was packed today after the morning skate as the team prepared to take on the Minnesota Wild tonight at the Times Forum. Multiple news stations as well as beat writers and columnists from both the St. Petersburg Times and the Tampa Tribune were in attendance to speak to the players about tonight’s game and all things Lightning. The media from Minnesota was also there to talk to former Wild players Kurtis Foster, Stephane Veilleux and Wes Walz.
In news from yesterday, Drew Miller was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Red Wings. Head Coach Rich Tocchet said Miller is “a good kid and a good player” and that he was happy for him. In another move the Lightning called up forward Paul Szczechura from Norfolk. He was the Admirals’ leading scorer before his recall with six goals and 14 points. Szczechura made his NHL debut last season with Tampa Bay, appearing in 31 games with four goals and nine points. Tocchet said Szczechura will be in the line-up tonight. Tocchet said he likes the youngster’s speed and tenacity on the fore check.
Tocchet also announced that Antero Niittymaki, who sports the NHL’s best save percentage at .940, will make his fourth consecutive start. Admittedly, the coach said he would be foolish to go with the hot hand, and Niittymaki could not be any hotter right now. In talking about the goaltender Tocchet said “his work ethic has really impressed me. He’s been real solid. His side-to-side movement is as good as I’ve seen this year.”
Tonight is Military Night Out at the Times Forum so come out and help the Lightning salute all our past and present men and women in uniform.