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by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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First of all, the view from Len Barrie’s house is downright sick. Perched atop a mountain at the resort, the home offers views of the entire city of Victoria as well as Washington State across the water. The putting green, basketball court and movie theater weren’t bad either, and the folks from Bear Mountain offered up a spread of food at last night’s dinner that could’ve fed an army.

This morning the Lightning staff started the day with a health/nutrition presentation from strength coach Kevin Ziegler, followed by a staff “hike” on one of the mountains. Unfortunately, the young lady charged with leading the way misunderstood “hike” to mean “jog”, and it quickly became apparent we were in for a test of our resolve. It actually wasn’t too bad heading downhill for the first 30 minutes, but that meant the second half was going to be straight up. There were only two casualties, with Bobby Hull Jr., who will work for the Lightning in player development, spraining his ankle on the way down and assistant coach Rick Tocchet going for a header on one of the steeper downhill parts (though he bounced right back up).

I snapped this picture of the group once we reached the bottom, and the only reason anyone is smiling is because they hadn’t yet realized we were heading back the same way we’d come.

Pictured are: (standing far back, L to R) assistant general manager Tom Kurvers, assistant coach Cap Raeder and skating coach Barry Karn; (standing middle, L to R) chief scout Darryl Plandowski, pro scout Gerry O’Flaherty, vp of hockey operations Brian Lawton, assistant to the gm Ryan Belec, assistant gm Claude Loiselle, Norfolk assistant coach Alan May, pr director Jay Preble, strength coach Kevin Ziegler, assistant coach Rick Tocchet; (seated, L to R) head coach Barry Melrose, Norfolk gm Mike Butters, owner Oren Koules, Norfolk head coach Darren Rumble.

Karn, by the way, made everyone look bad on the way back by effortlessly jogging up the steep parts then waiting at the top for the rest of us who were trying to get oxygen. Our guide/torturer mentioned a black bear had been spotted on the trail yesterday, and we’d have been an easy meal if he’d returned today because there wasn’t much fight left in anyone.

After we recovered we hopped on the bus to the arena for the other morning workout (this time involving athletes) at the Juan de Fuca Arena. It was kept to two hours due to tonight’s scrimmage, and I’m still impressed by the number of locals continuing to show up to check out the action. Steven Stamkos is unbelievable with the fans, signing for every kid in the building who asks. He even hopped off the bus for a kid at the hotel hoping to meet his hero.

I’ll provide another update tonight after scrimmage number two.

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