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 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 had a quick session on the ice today after some more video work, then they dashed to the Tampa Jet Center for the flight to Boston.
Nothing momentous occurred during the skate this morning, though Lightning athletic trainer Tom Mulligan sais Andreas Karlsson had been cleared following his abdominal strain. Now it remains to be seen if John Tortorella puts him in the lineup. The Lightning's ECHL affiliate, the Mississippi Seawolves, watched the Bolts then practiced today at the Forum. They'll practice in Tampa again tomorrow before their opener Saturday against the Florida Everblades in Estero.
One thing that becomes abundantly clear when you travel on charter flights is that the airlines sometimes take their time getting from A to B. I’ve been on 75 minute commercial flights to Atlanta, while the charter always takes about 50 minutes. Boston for us today will take just under three hours, which isn’t too much different from the commercial non-stops (if they’re on time). Luckily, we don’t do much circling before landing.
It’s easy to avoid air traffic delays when you’re landing at a small, private airstrip, which is what the Lightning do when they head to Boston. The old drill was to fly to Logan, which is just through the prone-to-collapse tunnels from downtown Boston, but the security delays of driving a bus onto the tarmac can be long. The past few seasons, the Lightning have landed at Hanscom Field, a small military/private airstrip adjacent to Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass. From there the team bus winds through historic Lexington, past Minuteman Historical Park and Minuteman Regional High School, to the interstate for the 30-40 minute ride through Waltham and Newton and into Boston.
Boston has several great areas for visitors to stay, and the Lightning’s headquarters at Copley Place is one of them. Connected to a mall, the team hotel is a few blocks from the finish line for the Boston Marathon and a two-minute walk to Boston Common. From the T station across the street, Kenmore Square (Fenway Park and the Boston Beer Works!) is a 10-minute ride south while Government Center (Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, the North End) is 10 minutes to the north.
Since tonight is the night off between games for the Red Sox in the ALCS, it shouldn’t be too crazy of a night to go out for a bite. Unfortunately for the Bruins, tomorrow night’s home opener goes head-to-head with what could be the elimination game for a Red Sox team everyone in New England probably expected to win the World Series. It’ll be interesting to see what type of crowd the Bs pull in.