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Hello from our hotel in Prague. Since the internet is down in the hotel, I'm writing this from the hotel office (thank you kind front desk lady!) on the what is apparently the only computer that's working. I wanted to start out by making sure you have the scoop about everything going on while the team is overseas, so make sure you check out the press release just posted on Tampabaylightning.com about all the coverage being offered, including yours truly. Here's the link: TampaBayLightning.com to Bring Fans Behind the Scenes of the Lightning's Trip to Europe
After last night's victory in New York the team headed to the airport and landed here today at about 2:30 p.m. local time. The nice part about the flight was that it took place on the same spacious plane the Bolts used during the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals - nothing like some good karma. The plane is owned by Mark Cuban and makes 7 1/2-hour flights very pleasant with large seats, large bathrooms and lots of leg room.
As we drifted down toward the runway for landing, the magnitude of the event we're participating in became apparent. Spectators were just outside the fense at one end of the runway to watch the plane land, and a crowd of media/airport workers met us at the bottom of the stairs (I'd show you the picture I took if the internet worked!) We were told we had to clear the tarmac quickly because the Prime Minister of Poland was due to arrive, so we hopped on the buses and took advantage of the police escort to get to the hotel quickly. After a quick stop to check in and grab a snack, the team bused to Prague's O2 Arena to change into their gear before taking another ride to Letnany Arena, a small local rink owned by former NHLer Frantisek Kucera.
A huge crush of fans and paparazzi greeted the team upon arrival at Letnany, and after a 45-minute skate everyone headed back to O2 to change again (local team Slavia Praha was playing when we arrived) before reaching the hotel at 7:30 p.m. Tomorrow's just a practice day, and hopefully I'll be able to add some pictures!