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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

Ten Lightning players showed what it’s really all about yesterday afternoon at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Brandon. Mathieu Darche, Marc Denis, Jan Hlavac, Vaclav Prospal, Filip Kuba, Jason Ward, Johan Holmqvist, Andreas Karlsson, Nick Tarnasky and Michel Ouellet spent a couple of hours Christmas shopping with children from Metropolitan Ministries who otherwise might not have had a chance to enjoy the holidays.

Dick’s and the Lightning Foundation partnered to provide each of the 69 children in attendance a $100 gift card so they could shop for anything they wanted. They ended the afternoon with a pizza party in the store. With many of the children living on the streets and facing a bleak holiday season, it was a heart-warming afternoon to say the least!

It was nice to see Luke Richardson back in the St. Pete Times Forum with the Ottawa Senators this morning. While he didn’t see a lot of playing time with the Bolts last season, Richardson is easily one of the classiest gentlemen in hockey. Last season was tough for Richardson with his family living in his hometown of Ottawa while he played for the Lightning, so the veteran defenseman is enjoying the best of everything this season while playing at home.

It’s easy to tell when the Senators (or Leafs or Canadiens) are in town at a morning skate, as the media in the stands and in the locker room dwarfs the usual turnout. The Ottawa crew - under the watchful eye of Sens Communications VP Phil Legault - is generally a pleasant bunch, which isn’t always the case when some teams visit.

The Lightning don’t expect any lineup changes after Saturday’s 4-1 victory against Boston. John Tortorella has been consistent about sticking with a winning lineup in the past, and it looks like he’ll do it again with Craig MacDonald as the lone healthy scratch. The Bolts will need to be on top of their game tonight if they expect to have success tonight against an Ottawa team that’s hungrier than usual after losing six in a row.

One thing’s for sure, with the amount of offensive talent that will be on display tonight, it will be an entertaining one for the fans.

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