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. Have a question or comment for The Insider? Send me an email at Insider@tampabaylightning.com
The mood at practice today wasn’t too much different than it had been last week, though a day off Sunday after three consecutive wins meant the players were in good spirits. A 20-minute video session preceded a one-hour practice this morning, with everyone except Filip Kuba (body maintenance) participating. Jan Hlavac was on the ice after suffering a badly broken nose from a high stick near the end of Saturday’s game. Wearing a shield doesn’t always do the job!
The end of practice today consisted of a shootout drill, with the skaters facing the task of scoring six times against Johan Holmqvist and Marc Denis or doing push-ups on the ice. In two rounds through the entire lineup, the goaltenders stood tall both times.
Now that Ryan Craig is back (nice to see his goal from in front of the net in Washington, wasn’t it?), the buzz is that a couple players could be headed to Norfolk soon to help reinforce the Admirals’ lineup. Offense has been a struggle for the Admirals so far this season, so it’s likely Norfolk GM Claude Loiselle will be happy to see any additions.
Vaclav Prospal, with 11 goals and 21 points in 17 games, was one of the main topics of conversation today when head coach John Tortorella met with the media.
“I don’t think he’s doing anything differently, but the pucks are going in,” Tortorella said of Prospal, who tallied only 14 goals last season. “Last year he was creating offense but he was snake-bitten. He’s always been putting in the effort.
“We hope he just continues to go about his business away from the puck.”
Tortorella also discussed what it means to have Craig back in the lineup after recovering from a herniated disk in his back.
“It fills out my bench as far as the options I have as a coach,” Tortorella said. “I can use him in a lot of different areas – on the penalty kill, the power play, in the last few minutes of the game. He’s a key guy as long as he stays healthy.”
In case you missed it, Vincent Lecavalier was named the NHL’s first star of the week today after posting eight points in four games last week. Vinny seems to be in good form right now with tons of confidence, which doesn’t bode well for opponents. Speaking of Lecavalier, the Insider will be at his charity poker tournament at the Hard Rock Casino tonight with a full report tomorrow.