Let tampabaylightning.com become your destination for all the latest Lightning scoops. The Lightning Insider will be in the stands, in the locker room and on the road with the team to provide you with an inside look at the Bolts as they pursue Lord Stanley’s hardware. Our resident snoop will make sure you’re the first to know when the Lightning are making news.
Have a question or comment for The Insider? Send me an email at Insider@tampabaylightning.com
Ahoj (hello) from Prague.
Being the responsible individual I am I had every intention of getting to sleep at a decent hour last night so my body could adjust to the six-hour time difference here. In fact, I was already in bed at 10 p.m. when I got the call to "walk down the block and have a beer" with some members of the traveling party. No harm, right? Just a beer to unwind from a long travel day.
Fast forward to 2:30 this morning as I wandered the narrow cobblestone streets by myself, completely lost and wondering where it all went wrong.
What the heck, it was still only 8:30 p.m. in Tampa and I got to see some of the local sights, including the bar and cafe-lined Old Town Square with it's "street salesmen" trying to rope tourists into visiting various establishments of questionable nature.
The Lightning headed back over to O2 Arena at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. Tampa time) today for practice. I don't think head coach Barry Melrose was too pleased with the team's effort level during stretches of Thursday night's 4-2 win in New York, so practice was preceded by a lengthy video session. The local team, Slavia Praha, was on the ice before the Bolts this morning, skating over about 50 different logos painted on the ice. I wonder if it gets tough to see the puck? We're told the logos will be covered by the time the Lightning and Rangers lace 'em up on October 4th. Here are a couple of shots of the arena I took during Slavia Praha’s practice.
Practice for the Lightning involved breakouts and forechecking, two of the areas the team struggled with in New York. It was the team's longest practice of the season so far, with conditioning and preparation becoming more and more important now that we open in a week.
Today's lines for practice were:
Prospal - Lecavalier - St. Louis
Malone - Stamkos - Artyukhin
Recchi - Jokinen - Vrbata
Roberts - Gratton - Hall
The line of extra forwards included Ward, Koci, Craig, Ouellet and Tarnasky, who is participating when he can in drills despite his fractured thumb.
D pairings were once again mixed with Paul Ranger not participating in all of the contact drills, but it looked like Mihalik-Meszaros, Niskala-Carle and O'Brien-Lundin might be the pairings with Hutchinson and Ranger as extras.
Talk to you tomorrow.