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The Lightning Insider - Game Day

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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Let the gamesmanship begin. Despite the good folks with the Islanders saying they didn’t think there was any way goaltender Rick DiPietro would be recovered enough from his knee problems to make his season debut tonight, DiPietro took part in the team’s morning skate and was the first goaltender to leave the ice. That doesn’t guarantee he plays, but it’s often a good sign. I won’t be surprised if he does.

Marek Malik was on the ice for the team’s mandatory skate this morning after arriving last night from Prague. Though still unsigned, Malik will skate with the team until the coaching staff deems him ready to play. I guess there’s an outside shot that could happen by Saturday, but next Tuesday vs. Atlanta seems more realistic.

Malik said he had three of four other teams interested in his services, but he decided Tampa Bay was the best option for him personally based on the moves the team made during the summer. Malik, who “kinda sorta” looks a little like Pavel Kubina, sported the No. 22 on his helmet and on the nameplate above his stall.

Head coach Barry Melrose said Jamie Heward will be scratched to make room for the return of Paul Ranger tonight. The additions of Ranger, Lukas Krajicek and Malik should make a big difference for the Lightning’s defense by taking some of the workload off of guys like Janne Niskala, Matt Carle and Mike Lundin and getting their ice time into the range they’re accustomed to. I’d say the Lightning’s D corps, heavily criticized by the media heading into the season, is starting to shape up nicely.

Funny moment of the morning – rookie Steven Stamkos falling flat on his back as he took his first step on the ice this morning. There didn’t seem to be a good reason either – no tape on his skates and he didn’t step on something – he just lost it.

“Looked like a baby deer,” was the comment from one bystander.

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