|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
If you’re in the Tampa Bay area reading this, you really need to appreciate where you live. It started raining here in Buffalo at about 7 last night and hasn’t stopped yet. The temperature’s in the high 40s and the rain is one of those grey everywhere, steady mists instead of the heavy storms that move through in Florida. It sounds like we’ll be faced with the same weather in Pittsburgh when we land tonight around midnight.
Matt Smaby will be in the Lightning lineup tonight, with Mike Lundin sitting this one out. Lundin’s ankle is good to go, but Tortorella wants to see how Smaby has progressed. The Lightning brass is interested to see if Smaby’s decision-making and foot speed have improved in Norfolk. No other changes to the list of skaters tonight.
Karri Ramo will start in net, which likely means Mike Smith will go against the Penguins tomorrow night. I say “likely” because you never know what Tortorella has planned, even when things seem obvious. For example, it seemed obvious to some that Smith would play tonight after shutting out the Rangers Saturday night.
Tortorella talked a little bit this morning about dealing with the reality that the season will end early this year.
“The toughest time for me is when you wake up in the morning,” he said. “The first couple of hours of the day are the hardest for me when you realize you're not playing for the playoffs.
“We sink our teeth into teaching the new guys and it kind of takes the pain away.”