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.
For the first time since the preseason, all members of the Lightning roster participated in practice today. Ryan Craig skated with the team for the first time since his back flared up, although he wore the lone white jersey and avoided the contact drills. John Tortorella said it was a good sign to see him out there, but he wasn’t sure about the third-year center’s status.
Dan Boyle participated in most of today’s practice at the St. Pete Times Forum, passing well and firing off some wrist shots as he gets closer to returning. While some media speculated Boyle would be back this week after receiving a good report from the doctor on Saturday, it remains to be seen when his wrist will be ready for the battles that take place during an NHL game.
Michel Ouellet once again skated with Chris Gratton and Mathieu Darche (with Andreas Karlsson mixing in), while Jason Ward stayed with Brad Richards and Jan Hlavac. The practice focused on the transition game, followed by some tough 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 battles (Mike Lundin took an inadvertent Nick Tarnasky elbow in the chops).
Tortorella finished the practice with a shootout (he must realize the Lightning always seem to go into a shootout in Washington), challenging the players to meet his goals. Seven was the magic number of goals that needed to be scored in the first round with the entire team shooting, and goalies Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis held them to six to force the team to skate a lap. With a lap and 25 push-ups on the line in the second round, Tortorella reduced the number to six. It wasn’t looking good for the skaters until Matt Smaby, the second-to-last shooter, buried his chance for goal No. 6.
Following practice Lightning enforcer Andre Roy had a camera crew in tow (always a scary idea) for the next segment of “Rapping with Roy”, a feature that will air from time to time on Sun Sports’ Lightning broadcasts. Anyone who had the chance to see the first edition Saturday night knows Roy won’t have to look far for work when his hockey career is over. Tim Taylor, Marty St. Louis and Ryan Craig were among his “victims.”
The Lightning will skate at 11 a.m. tomorrow before heading to Washington to prepare for Wednesday night’s tilt with Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals.