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The Lightning Insider - Game Day

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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Yesterday’s landing approach at Baltimore/Washington International had to be one of the worst ever for the Lightning charter flight, with 40 mile-per-hour winds snapping trees and knocking out power throughout the D.C. area. The plane not only bounced all over the place on approach, it actually twisted a few times with the back end drifting out. Thankfully the pilot slammed it down as soon as he could instead of dragging it out, which everyone appreciated.

It was a quiet New Year’s Eve for everyone, with a few people heading to the ESPN Zone to watch the U.S.-Canada World Junior game. Bad news was, the ESPN Zone closed at 10. What’s up with that??

Today the team headed over to the Verizon center early today to get in an optional skate, and the bus passed by the bleachers being built in front of the White House for the upcoming Inauguration.

Mike Smith will be in goal again, though the defense will be a bit different. Lukas Krajicek picked up another upper body injury Tuesday night and is out, and Paul Ranger will join him in the press box with an undisclosed upper body injury. Vladimir Mihalik is en route from Portland, Maine, where he was pulled off the Norfolk Admirals’ bus to hop a flight here this morning. Matt Smaby will get another game to show his stuff to the coaching staff.

“He’s one of our best defenseman at eliminating the man,” Head Coach Rick Tocchet said of Smaby. “If he works on his puck-handling he can be a reliable defenseman in the NHL.”

Tocchet added he might play Ryan Malone more on a line with Jeff Halpern, so Vaclav Prospal will see more time back on the top line with Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis.

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