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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 mood seemed upbeat today as the Lightning went through a brisk practice at the St. Pete Times Forum before the flight to Washington. Dan Boyle looked good shooting and passing, and it seems like he’s on course to be back in the lineup soon. When he is ready it will probably force a roster decision, because it’s unlikely Jay Feaster and John Tortorella will want 8 healthy defensemen around. Before Boyle’s injury, the plan had been to only keep six.

Following practice today Tortorella pulled Andreas Karlsson over to the boards for a chat, which could mean a couple of things. Tortorella might have told Karlsson he’ll get his shot in the lineup tomorrow or Thursday, or he could’ve told him to sit tight and wait for his chance. We’ll wait and see. Another popular question among the media today was whether Johan Holmqvist or Marc Denis will be in the net against the Capitals. My guess is Denis since Holmqvist has been strong at home and Tortorella might choose to rest him for the Philadelphia game on Thursday. However, predicting what Tortorella is going to do can be a very inexact science.

When the Lightning head to Washington the charter flight lands at Baltimore/Washington International, which is about a 35-40 minute bus ride from Washington. Regulations regarding charter flights prevent the team from using Reagan International, just four miles from downtown D.C. The team hotel in Washington – the Renaissance Mayflower – is the total package. Located a short 10-minute walk from the White House, the Mayflower has a long Presidential history. Every Presidential Inaugural Ball since Calvin Coolidge’s has taken place there, and President Harry Truman lived at the Mayflower during the first 90 days of his term. Franklin D. Roosevelt lived in Suite 776 before moving into the White House and dictated his famous, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” speech there. In addition, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover at lunch every day for 20 years at the Mayflower.

Walking around the hotel is like taking a step back in time, and you need to keep your eyes open in the lobby because you never know who you’ll run into. Monica Lewinsky gave her videotaped deposition there during the Clinton mess, and when the Lightning arrived for check-in later that night they were told she had checked out 20 minutes earlier. Other notables spotted in the lobby have included Sugar Ray Leonard and several prominent members of Congress.

Past trips for Washington have also included some impressive behind-the-scenes tours. Compliments of some Secret Service friends, the Lightning coaches enjoyed a tour of the compound where the Presidential limos are housed last season. Back in 2000 when the outcome of the Gearge Bush/Al Gore election was being decided in court, Vincent Lecavalier and Brad Richards were among a small group that received the ultimate behind-the-scenes” White House tour. Among the stops were the Oval Office, the Press Room (built where the pool used to be), Vice President Gore’s office (a rare chance to put your feet up on the VPs desk) and the rose garden, where the pair played fetch with President Clinton’s now-deceased dog, Buddy. The group also enjoyed an impromptu chat with Clinton’s secretary, Betty Currie, who happened to be leaving the West Wing as they were walking in.

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