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First of all, let’s start of by congratulating Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier
for being chosen for his fourth NHL All-Star Game. Zdeno Chara and Frantisek Kaberle are the only other members of the East team who will be playing in their fourth game. Lecavalier was typically humble about it all this morning when he met with the press in the lobby of the hotel, and he made it clear he was disappointed that Martin St. Louis
didn’t also get the call.
Now, on to the business at hand. Since we’re staying 45 minutes away from the arena for tonight’s game, the team stayed at the hotel this morning and took part in a warm-up stretch on the lawn out back, next to the driving range. There’s a huge medical equipment conference occupying the resort so all of the conference rooms were taken and the boys headed outdoors, which made for an interesting sight for the golfers driving by (see picture).
I’m officially very ready to get the heck out of this place, which is overrun with all the medical reps acting like it’s one big frat party every afternoon and evening. The resort is beautiful, but if you don’t play golf… well, you can only eat at PF Chang’s so many times.
Head Coach Rick Tocchet said the time away has been beneficial.
“It’s a time for guys to recharge their batteries,” he said. “Saying that, guys better be ready to play tonight. That's the mandate.”
Tocchet spoke at length about what it will mean to have Paul Ranger back in the lineup tonight, and he added that he’d like to get Paul Szczechura back in, but it likely won’t happen until tomorrow night in Anaheim.
“I need to come up with some kind of a rotation,” Tocchet said. “I don’t like to have guys sit out for long.”
He also added that right now he’s leaning toward letting goaltender Karri Ramo face the Ducks tomorrow night, but he planned to consult with Goaltending Coach Cap Raeder some more before making the final call.