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The Lightning Insider - Game Day

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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Today’s a good day to clean out the Insider mailbox, but first let’s catch up on the roster for tonight’s game against the Thrashers. Most notably, Paul Ranger is out (upper body) and newly-acquired Josef Melichar cleared re-entry waivers at noon today and is on his way to Tampa for the game. Andrej Meszaros remains out, but Marek Malik returns tonight, so throw in David Koci and you have six defensemen for tonight.

The picture at forward isn’t as clear. Paul Szczechura is still out (lower body), but it was hard to tell who else might be scratched. Mike McKenna gets the start again in net.

Now, to your questions:

Several of you are still asking about the trade rumors originating from the Great White North. All I can say is please don’t believe everything you read. Getting caught up in every rumor you hear is a waste of your valuable time – as are the websites devoted to those rumors, in my opinion.

MWPrest asked why Mike Lundin is “blackballed” and if he’ll ever get called up again.

To answer that one I refer to an answer Lightning owner Oren Koules gave to a similar question on this site. Mike isn’t “blackballed” at all. The consensus was that he would benefit from a year in the AHL, playing a ton of minutes in all situations. That decision was made before Lightning defensemen started dropping like flies due to injuries. Mike would need to clear re-entry waivers to come back to Tampa Bay, and with teams able to claim him for half his full salary, the Lightning are not at all confident he’d make it through. Basically, Mike’s an asset this team doesn’t want to lose and if he’s recalled, he’s probably gone.

Stephanie asked what’s up with Paul Szczechura.

Paul’s been skating every day and, in my opinion, looks close to returning from his lower body injury. However, I don’t know what the plan for him will be when he returns. There are roster decisions to be made.

“E” asked how Ryan Malone got the nickname “Bugsy,” which he heard Steven Stamkos call Malone while he was wearing a microphone for Sun Sports during a recent game.

Ryan inherited the nickname “Bugsy” from his father, Greg Malone, the Lightning’s head Professional scout who played 11 NHL seasons. Bugsy Malone was the name of a 1976 movie starring Scott Baio and Jody Foster.

Kelley asked how long Mike McKenna will stay with the team.

Well Kelley, I think his chances of staying the rest of the season are pretty good. Once Mike Smith returns I think it’s likely that Karri Ramo will go back to Norfolk to get some regular playing time, so McKenna would stay here as the backup. I also think Mike is having a good audition for a job next year, whether it’s in Tampa or Norfolk.

Finally, Victor says Mike Smith is “a bum with a capital B” and he hopes “he’s out for the season.”

I just had to post that one to give everyone a good laugh.

Until next time….

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