|The Lightning team bus winds through the Beacon Hill area of Boston after the morning practice. |
It’s overcast in Boston today but the temperature is in the 70s which is a nice break from the Florida heat. From the sound of things this morning, most of the Lightning’s traveling party had dinner in the North End at some of the many Italian restaurants. Included on the list is the Antinori family of Tampa, who purchased an auction item at the John Tortorella Celebrity Fishing Tournament in September that gave them the chance to travel to Boston with the team. They enjoyed a pre-dinner reception with coaches and management in Jay Feaster’s suite before heading to the North end for dinner with Lightning Foundation director Nancy Crane and Feaster’s assistant, Liz Sylvia.
The ride on the media bus (or the “Happy Bus,” as named by Bobby “The Chief” Taylor) from the hotel to the TD Banknorth Garden takes you past many great sights, including Boston Common, Cheers, Beacon Hill and the Massachusetts State House. The “Happy Bus” usually follows behind the team bus and transports media, broadcasters, Sun Sports production people and any other guests.
One of the funnier sights in Boston is the four story apartment building (pictured) located across from the loading dock ramp at TD Banknorth Garden. It’s owned by a man who refused to sell his property to the government for Boston’s “Big Dig” project, so they built the new roads and ramps around the building. It even has a small yard in the middle of the concrete jungle.
Apparently the Bruins are have “upgraded” some aspects of their building this season, and the team benches were one of the projects. Unfortunately, the put the new benches about 3½ feet from the boards and left almost no room for the coaches and trainers to stand behind them. Players who like to lean on the boards while they sit on the bench are out of luck here.
The Lightning held an optional skate, and it looks like Johan Holmqvist will once again get the nod in goal. Tim Thomas, who has been better than Manny Fernandez, is expected to go for Boston. Doug Janik will be back in the lineup on defense for the Lightning – good news for the Massachusetts native who will likely have a lot of friends and family in attendance.
Dan Boyle continues to make progress and John Tortorella was hopeful of Boyle being back soon.
“He’s seeing the doctor Monday and I’m expecting a good report,” said a relaxed Tortorella, who at one point seemed to be doing his own interviewing of the Boston broadcasters to find out what’s going on with the Red Sox.
On the topic of Boyle, Tortorella said having him out of the lineup will ultimately have benefits.
“We’re going to be a better team for it,” he said. “I’m really happy with how the D have held themselves together. You just don’t replace Danny Boyle.