THE LIGHTNING INSIDER
Tonight might be the last chance for some players to make an impression before the first round of cuts which are scheduled to happen following the game. I’ll post them here once I receive them.
Tonight is also the second chance to check out the Lightning’s amazing new scoreboard built by Clearwater’s HiTech Electronic Displays. Anyone who had the chance to attend Wednesday’s game might have been tempted to watch the massive video screens with their crystal-clear pictures instead of the live action on the ice. The Lightning’s Jason Dixon, heading up the scoreboard project, says what fans are seeing now pales in comparison to what they’ll see on October 4 when Lightning Vision will be fully operational. The difference between the old “jumbotron” and Lightning Vision is remarkable.
The team skated in two groups this morning, with the non-game players hitting the ice at 9 a.m. for a 60-minutes session. The good news is Michel Ouellet skated on his own this morning, and Lightning athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan reports that he’s continuing to make progress and still listed as day to day. Chris Gratton didn’t skate but worked out with his teammates and appears to be making progress as he waits for his eye injury to heal.
Following the game group’s 30-minute session, Lightning coach John Tortorella met with the local media and discussed a variety of subjects. He said the early injuries to Jan Hlavac and Ouellet have given Andreas Karlsson more of an opportunity to show what he can do. Regarding Hlavac, he also said the Czech forward has always played for trapping teams so learning the Lightning system is taking some time. Tortorella believes that once Hlavac is up to speed, the Lightning’s wide open style will suit him because of his skating ability.
Tortorella also addressed the battle for spots on the blue line, praising the play of Bryce Lampman and Mike Lundin. He also said Matt Smaby and Doug Janik have looked good so far, and that he didn’t expect a final decision until after the team’s fifth preseason game next Saturday in Dallas.
Get to the game early tonight if you can and check out the red carpet on the plaza. Players in the lineup tonight, including Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Dan Boyle, will be arriving between 4:15-5:30 to walk the carpet, signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. Players not in the lineup will likely arrive between 6:30-7:30 tonight and will be making appearances throughout the arena tonight. Players will greet fans entering the building, sign autographs during the first intermission, visit suite holders and participate in interviews that will be shown on Lightning Vision.