|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
Sorry it’s been a couple of days – at least there’s plenty to talk about. Let’s start with today’s team business. The Lightning skated for only about 30 minutes today at the Forum. Brad Lukowich is participating in all drills and looks like he could be ready to get into a game before the end of the season. Nick Tarnasky – who left the game last night with blurred vision after taking an elbow to the head by a linesman – sat out of practice as a precaution. Not sure if he’ll be ready tomorrow. Shane O’Brien also didn’t skate and spent the time in the weight room instead. Goaltender Mike Smith participated in the full workout and the team will decide tomorrow if he’s ready to go.
Now, onto more important issues. Today was a special day at practice for the Lightning as the Make A Wish Foundation brought out a special guest. Ten-year-old Michael Springham, of Melbourne, is a huge fan of the Lightning and Vincent Lecavalier
. Michael was born with a heart condition, and his “wish” was to meet Vinny and maybe have a chance to skate with him. Today Vinny and Lightning coach John Tortorella granted Michael’s wish, and then some!
Not only did Michael get to meet Vinny and the rest of the Lightning, but thanks to Tortorella he got to put on his gear in the locker room with the team (he took the empty stall between Jason Ward and Mike Lundin) and participate in the first 10 minutes of practice. Michael and Vinny partnered up for some early warm-up drills, and with mom, dad and his older brother watching from the bench, Michael led the entire team on a couple of warm-up laps and then led the team stretch at center ice. After practice, Michael and his family took a tour of the Lightning locker room – with Vinny as the tour guide – and all the Bolts autographed his new “#4 Lecavalier” jersey.
In a season where smiles have been few and far between in the locker room, it was a fun day for everyone involved!