Greetings from Everett, Washington as the Lightning prepare for Game 2 of this week-long cross-continent road trip. Lots of games ? Yes. Lots of travel? Yes. Great opportunities for players to earn a spot on the roster once the season starts? Yes, yes.
Tonight's game group had a quick meeting at the hotel this morning while the non-game group had a practice at the rink at 12:30 p.m.
Everyone in the Lightning travel party is a little sleepy today after last night's trip to Seattle from Regina. A two-hour flight extended well into the evening due to a customs office that had one lonely soul working to clear us while another looked over his shoulder. Needless to say, the buses pulled up at the Holiday Inn Downtown Everett (hold the 'I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night' jokes) around 2:30 a.m. after a 45 minute bus ride. So while most people in Tampa were waking up to start their day the team was just getting into their rooms (yes, it was 6am eastern time).
Everett itself is an extremely beautiful city. We didn't see it until walking to the rink this morning, but it is a quaint mountain town like something you'd find on a movie set in one of Oren Koules’ next thrillers. Or it might make a nice little summer vacation spot. Too bad we won't see much of it as the team departs for Loveland, Colorado tonight after the game.
As for tonight, Mike Smith will get his second start of the preseason and Andrej Meszaros will see his first game action since having his 298 consecutive games played streak snapped last season due to s shoulder injury. Also scheduled to play tonight are Carter Ashton, Brett McLean, Brandon Bochenski, Drew Miller, Jeff Halpern, Adam Hall, Todd Fedoruk, Blair Jones, Ryan Craig, Radek Smolenak, James Wright, Juraj Simek, Lukas Krajicek, Mike Lundin, David Hale, Vladimir Mihalik, Matt Smaby and Dustin Tokarski.
On a side note, Wright (who was born in Saskatoon) made quite an impression last night in Regina against the Senators. Coach Rick Tocchet said he was one of the Lightning players who played with a sense of urgency in his game. I am sure playing in front of some of the home folks helped. It will be interesting to see if he can carry that play over to tonight's game against the Phoenix Coyotes.