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As you’re aware yesterday was a busy evening for the Lightning, who swapped defensemen with the Flyers and also acquired agitator Steve Downie, who was assigned to Norfolk. Tampa Bay picked up Steve Eminger from Philadelphia in the deal, and Eminger moved his gear down the hall at the Wachovia Center this morning to the visitor’s locker room for the Lightning’s skate. Eminger, a right-handed shot, will wear #44 and will get thrown into the fire against his former team tonight.
The team made another move today, sending wing Jason Ward down to Norfolk. Ward had cleared waivers a couple of weeks ago and just couldn’t crack the Lightning lineup. Lightning GM Brian Lawton addressed the moves.
“Defense is the toughest part of a team to reshape,” Lawton said this morning. “That’s been the biggest struggle for us as an organization. Our blueline is still a work in progress.
“Jason Ward’s been a true professional. He’s an NHL player, and he’s going to play some games down [in Norfolk] and I’m sure he’ll end up back in the NHL.”
As for tonight’s lineup, Head Coach Barry Melrose said Evgeny Artyukhin will be out with an injury (“It’s below his neck and above his ankles” was Melrose’s comment, jokingly). Ryan Craig replaces him and Matt Pettinger is a scratch. Mike Smith will get the call once again.