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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.  Have a question or comment for The Insider?  Send me an email at

Dan Boyle is back. There's no telling how long he'll play tonight, but he was removed from the Injured Reserve list and he's scheduled to be in the lineup against the Rangers. It caused quite a commotion among the media and players when Boyle left the ice early along with the game group after this morning’s skate at Madison Square Garden, and even if his minutes are limited his presence will be a big emotional boost to the team.

With Boyle back in, Matt Smaby (he re-joined the team today after three weekend games in Norfolk) and Doug Janik will be the scratches on defense with Andreas Karlsson and Ryan Craig still out up front. Johan Holmqvist is scheduled to be in net once again.

Here’s another great part about flying on charters - when they tell you the plane will need to wait on the ground two hours because the weather in Newark has backed things up (as happened to the Lightning yesterday), all you have to do is ask the pilot to check in with one of the other four New York area airports - LaGuardia, Kennedy, Islip or White Plains.

Five minutes later, the pilot informed Lightning director of team services Phil Thibodeau that we’d be taxiing in five minutes on our way to LaGuardia instead. After a quick phone call to Ricky Berlingo, the bus driver, and the truck driver for the Rangers, the new plans were set and we were on our way. Curiously, we landed at LaGuardia a little more than two hours later under cool, sunny skies. Weather? Guess Newark didn’t want us.

Speaking of Ricky the bus driver, if you’re a thrill-ride lover you should try riding his bus through the streets of Manhattan. He drives like he’s in a Geo Metro, and in 15 years of driving the Lightning he’s yet to have an accident. Ricky takes charge of the Lightning anytime the team is in the New York area and he’s become a part of the team, taking part in team meals and even staying with the Lightning for a three-day side trip to Atlantic city a few years back.

Upon arrival at the team hotel yesterday – the Doubletree in Times Square – the Lightning were welcomed by the news that the cable was out in the entire hotel. This was unsettling news for those who had planned to relax and watch the World Series in their rooms. Massachusetts native and Red Sox lover Janik was forced to sit in the hotel restaurant (they had a dish) to catch the game.

Thanks for everyone that submitted questions to my email at Keep sending them in and I’ll try to answer them all once a week.

Deb Thole asks:
What's up with Vinny fighting two nights in a row? We need him on the ice not in the penalty box!

I agree it was strange to see Vinny getting in altercations in consecutive games considering Vinny has averaged 52 minutes in penalties in his career. Also strange is the fact that entering Monday’s game Lecavalier led the Lightning in penalty minutes with 26. You’re right, on a team with Andre Roy, Shane O’Brien and Chris Gratton, Lecavalier should be the last person leading the team in penalty box time. There is something to be said, however, for Vinny sending a message early in the season to the players who will try and keep him from scoring this season.

Erica Schonborn asks:
What time do the lightning have their morning skates and practices and are they open to the public?

The Lightning practice schedule varies usually from 10 a.m. to noon depending on the previous day's activities. Practices at the St. Pete Times Forum are closed while practices at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum are open to the public (bring a jacket!!!). On game days the team practices at 10:30 a.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum and they are not open to the public. You can always check the latest practice schedule on

Colin Marley asks:
I am in a fantasy pool and I have Dan Boyle on my Bench. I was wondering if there was a timeline on Dan Boyle's return.

Boyle was taken off injured reserve Monday afternoon and is expected to play against the Rangers. His nine games missed this season are already the most he’s ever missed with Tampa Bay in a full season. Hopefully he’ll rack up a bunch of points for you this season!

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