|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
It’s always a bit strange when new players enter the locker room and get to know their teammates, but I have to say there was definitely a bit of an excited buzz around the Lightning’s morning skate. A large press contingent came out to meet the newest members of the Lightning, and goaltender Mike Smith held court for a bit and had the group laughing on several occasions. He certainly has a different personality than a lot of past Lightning goaltenders, and seems genuinely excited about the opportunity with the Lightning. Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern also spent the morning getting to know their new teammates, and all three will be thrust into the action against the Wild tonight.
As expected, Smith will start in goal, with Jokinen skating on the left wing with Vinny Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis. Halpern is slated to center the second line with Mathieu Darche and Michel Ouellet. Another lineup addition tonight will be defenseman Alexandre Picard, who was recalled on an emergency basis to replace Filip Kuba. Kuba injured his right knee in practice yesterday and is listed as day to day, so fans will get a chance to see what Picard is all about after he was acquired from Philadelphia Monday night.
In all the trade deadline excitement yesterday I failed to mention that Brad Lukowich was back at the rink after his hernia surgery in Germany. Lukowich and assistant to the GM Ryan Belec actually got stranded in Munich for an extra day when their Sunday flight was canceled for mechanical reasons. That came after they’d already sat in the terminal for six hours of delays, but I’m sure there were some sort of German refreshments available to help them pass the time!