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by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning
Let 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 throughout the 2007-08 season to provide you with a positive look at the Bolts as they pursue Lord Stanley’s hardware. Our resident snoop will post the latest following practices and morning skates, and he’ll make sure you’re the first to know when the Lightning are making news.

The Lightning prepare to hit the ice to face the Red Wings Thursday night.
Considering who was missing from the Lightning lineup Thursday night in Detroit, the team worked hard to stay even with the Red Wings most of the way in the 3-2 shootout loss. Johan Holmqvist played two good periods, and Marc Denis was perfect in the third period and overtime.

Defenseman Matt Smaby earned praise from head coach John Tortorella after scoring one of the Lightning goals, as did Mike Lundin.

"I thought Smaby played one of his better games and Lundin was consistent," Tortorella said. "We've got some stuff to think about."

Tortorella also had praise for the line of Jan Hlavac, Vaclav Prospal and Michel Ouellet, who scored the other Lightning goal on a one-timer from the top of the circle.

"It's encouraging the way Hlavac and Ouellet played," he said. "Both did a lot of small things well."

Tortorella also revealed that after discussions with Lightning GM Jay Feaster, they've decided to carry only 20 healthy players. That means six players will likely be sent to Norfolk following tomorrow night's preseason finale in Dallas. Dan Boyle (wrist surgery) and Ryan Craig (back) could possibly start the season on the Injured Reserve list.

There are definitely some tough decisions to be made this year, which speaks well about the competitive nature of the camp. Health permitting, it sounds like the 20 who dress tomorrow night in Dallas could be the final 20, with Chris Gratton the only real question mark.

The team went through a lively one-hour workout at Joe Louis Arena this morning before heading to the airport for a flight to Dallas. The skate featured a lot of up-tempo two-on-two battles with conditioning laps thrown in for good measure.

Team headquarters in Dallas is one of the ritzier hotels in town, located in the Turtle Creek area near the American Airlines Center. The hotel is home to trendy restaurant NOBU if you want to hang out with the beautiful people. The hotel's also a good spot if you enjoy a $25 breakfast or a $9 beer, but a more casual eatery will be in order tonight as we watch the USF-West Virginia game (Go Bulls!).

Anyone know a good sports bar in Dallas?
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