|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
Typical game day on the road today, though everyone seems to enjoy spending time in Western Conference cities rather than Atlanta or Raleigh for the fifth time. Nashville caught a raw deal travel-wise when they got placed in the Western Conference, having to make multiple trips each season to Western Canada and California. The Predators were happy about being placed in a division with Detroit, however, because there are a lot of transplanted Detroiters in the Nashville area working for the auto industry.
Today’s skate at the Sommet Center (what’s a Sommet?) was uneventful, and it looks like the exact same lineup that won Tuesday night in St. Louis will give it a go tonight. Johan Holmqvist has a four-game road win streak to go along with the team’s five-game run. Nashville’s one of the league’s hottest teams with a 10-3-3 streak currently, and they’re getting it done with defense and goaltending. That means, of course, that Tampa Bay’s big guns are once again the key tonight.
Original Lightning coach and Predators TV analyst Terry Crisp was around this morning to keep things light, as was former Lightning PR guy Jay Levin, who recently took a position with the Preds after a stint in Columbus. Levin was hired in Nashville by former Lightning VP Gerry Helper, a Predators exec since Day 1.
Funny story about the Sommet Center (formerly the Nashville Arena and Gaylord Entertainment Center) – it was built using public funds by the Nashville government to attract a sports franchise. Being built in basketball-crazy Tennessee, however, meant the local architects followed the same general plans they use for hoops arenas. When the Predators were awarded to Nashville and the team’s newly-hired PR staff went to check out the press box – there wasn’t one! Basketball media and broadcasters traditionally sit courtside, so press boxes aren’t common. The Preds had to kill a large section of upper-level seats to construct a press seating area, which still sits among the fans today.