Let Tampabaylightning.com become your destination for all the latest Lightning scoops. The Lightning Insider will be in the stands, in the locker room and on the road with the team throughout the 2007-08 season to provide you with a positive look at the Bolts as they pursue Lord Stanley’s hardware. Our resident snoop will post the latest following practices and morning skates, and he’ll make sure you’re the first to know when the Lightning are making news.
Before we get into Day 2 of training camp, I need to give props to Nick Tarnasky who successfully defended his title last night in the Lightning’s three-mile run (I think “Bolt Run” is already taken?) at the University of Tampa. Tarnasky even bettered his time of 18:00 from last year, turning in a 17:48 to average an impressive 5:56 per mile. The competition this year came from Kyle Wanvig (18:05) and Andreas “Killer” Karlsson (18:57).
The first part of the day today was devoted to strength and agility testing, with the players split into teams and spread out throughout the Lightning’s locker room facility at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. Mike Lundin, a 2004 Tampa Bay draft choice who just completed his college career at Maine, took the opportunity to get himself noticed. Lundin out-jumped Karri Ramo to turn in the best performance in the standing long jump, and he managed an impressive third place in the vertical jump. If Lundin can display the poise and steadiness on the ice in the pros that were the hallmarks of his college career, his future in the organization looks bright.
Speaking of the vertical jump, Karl Stewart is an impressive physical specimen. He posted the best mark in the vertical jump, just ahead of focused and businesslike Marc Denis. Fans didn’t get too much of a chance to see Stewart on the ice last season as he appeared in only seven games with the Lightning after being acquired from Chicago at the deadline, but the guy can flat out skate and he’s fearless. I have to believe he will see some time in the Lightning lineup this season.
Other “event winners” from the testing were Martin St. Louis (a man among boys in the dips test), Matt Smaby and Brad Richards (tie) in pull-ups and (who else?), Andre Roy in the dumbbell press.
Following the strength and agility tests the boys hit the ice for the second skating test of camp, the 15-lap marathon. Doug Janik was taking some heat in the locker room prior to hitting the ice after the newspapers singled out his performance on Day 1.
“You’d better be fast out there or they’ll be printing a retraction in the paper tomorrow,” was the threat directed at Janik by a veteran who will remain nameless.
Janik didn’t need to worry, though, as he consistently lapped teammates during the test and was again one of the stars of the day. Smaby became an intriguing story as he fought hard to get past the finish line on his third 15-lapper of the morning. He then collapsed face first on the ice, only to receive a tap of encouragement on the back from John Tortorella.
“It’s not always about the times,” Tortorella told the gathered media following the workout. “It’s a physical test, but it’s a mental test too. The important part for some of the guys is that they finished; they didn’t give in to it. That’s what these two days are about.”
Speaking of Tortorella, he also commented that he was happy with the overall shape the players are in as they prepare for scrimmages. He also revealed that while Jan Hlavac and Michel Ouellet would start as the wingers on Richards’ line in the scrimmages, he intends to give Karlsson a shot either in the scrimmages or a preseason game. Tortorella added that he hopes the Prospal-Lecavalier-St. Louis line will remain intact, and the additions made to the forward lines this summer might allow him to use someone like Roy more often than he did last year.
With the scrimmages set to begin at 10 a.m. tomorrow (arrive early for parking!), I’m going to go out on a limb with a prediction (keep in mind there are only two teams this year instead of the customary four). I think the overall scoring depth of the white team, with Richards, Hlavac, Ouellet, Chris Gratton, Karlsson, Jason Ward, Filip Kuba, etc, will be too much for the black team, led by the Prospal-Lecavalier-St. Louis line and the Paul Ranger-Dan Boyle defensive pairing. Denis and Ramo will alternate in goal for the white team, while Johan Holmqvist will earn all the minutes for black.