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The Lightning Insider from Prague

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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As if on cue as October rolled in, the weather took a bit of a drastic change today. The skies have darkened, the temperatures have dropped and the wind has picked up in Prague, but that won’t prevent everyone from enjoying the city on the team’s day off today.

Having not learned my lesson the other night here, I headed out of the hotel before lunch toward the Old Town Square to find an English/Irish Pub that would be showing tonight’s UEFA Champions League soccer action. I made it to the Square in 10 minutes and found a good spot for later called the George & Dragon, then headed back in the direction I came. Problem is, one wrong turn on these ancient winding streets and you’re history. Forty minutes later I found myself standing in the exact spot where I’d called a cab the first night here. I refused to give in this time and kept going, and was fortunate to run into Mike Lundin and Jason Ward who pointed me in the right direction. Though I wandered for another 15 minutes I eventually made it back and I got some decent pictures.

A little later in the afternoon I hopped in a van with Lundin, Ryan Craig, David Koci and Vladimir Mihalik and we headed to “Jedlickova Ustavu a Skol” a school for the mentally and physically challenged just over the river from downtown. As has come to be expected on this trip, the players were greeted by a huge crush of media and photographers when they arrived, and the students seemed very excited. After some formal greetings from Prague Mayor Pavel Bem, the players sat in wheelchairs and competed against some of the students in a game similar to bocce ball, which the Lightning lost badly. The hockey sticks came out next for a game of wheelchair hockey, and though they kept it close, the Lightning were ultimately defeated by the students, 5-4 in overtime (actually the only time the Lightning took the lead was when the mayor joined the other team). After a Q&A session with Mihalik and Koci and some autograph signing the players headed back to the hotel with a memory they won’t soon forget. Here are some photos from the event:

Everyone’s on their own for dinner tonight – I’m just hoping I head out with someone who’s better at navigating than I am.

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