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The Lightning Insider

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

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Here's a glimpse into the glamorous life on the road for an NHL trainer or equipment manager. Traveling with a hockey team might be exciting at times, but it certainly isn't as glamorous as some people might think. Take this morning, for example. The Lightning's charter flight from Baltimore landed at about 2:30 a.m., which means the training staff didn't reach the Panthers' arena until after 3. After spending about 90 minutes unloading, unpacking and setting up all of the team’s gear in the locker room, medical room and changing room, the group headed over to the team hotel for a nap.

They were up early this morning and back at the rink after 9 a.m. to prepare the room for the arrival of the players at 11:30. Due to "Celtic Thunder" occupying the BankAtlantic Center tonight practice is at a local rink, so the players dressed at the arena and hopped on a bus to “Incredible Ice” for a 50-minute skate. Then it was back on the bus, back to the arena and ultimately, at 3:30 p.m., back to the hotel.

The trainers, however, hung back at the arena to clean the room and do final preparations for tomorrow’s morning skate. If all goes well they’ll get back to the hotel by 5 p.m., get a nap in, have dinner and go to bed so they can be rested before arriving at the arena by 8:30 tomorrow to start it all again. The Lightning training staff is one of the best in the business, led by Equipment Manager Ray Thill and Head Medical Trainer Tom Mulligan, and including Assistant Equipment Managers Rob Kennedy and Clay Roffer, Assistant Athletic Trainer Mike Poirier and Massage Therapist Mike Griebel.

Now; back to last night. What a classy display given by the Washington Capitals fans and organization. The tribute shown Olie Kolzig was memorable and moving, and likely made him feel better about the way things ended in Washington after many years. Too bad the night wasn’t finished off with a Lightning win, and too bad I went to the wrong gate at the White House and missed President-elect Obama’s motorcade!

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