THE LIGHTNING INSIDER
So it turns out that the Lightning’s hotel in Atlanta is the same place the Buccaneers stayed before their dismantling of the Falcons yesterday. Hopefully they left some of the positive mojo when they left yesterday. Dinner for many of the Lightning staff last night was at an Italian restaurant – Azio – just a block away. Spotted at the karaoke bar two doors down after dinner – none other than “keeper of the Stanley Cup” Mike Bolt, who was in town with some friends for a birthday party that included the Bucs-Falcons game. It’s always good to see Mike, although we could’ve done without the $7 beers and his friends’ karaoke efforts.
The media have reported a change to the Lightning’s overseas kickoff for next season. According to a New York paper, the NHL is now planning to send the New York Rangers to Prague to face the Lightning, while the Pittsburgh Penguins will instead open against the Ottawa Senators in Stockholm. While there’s been no “official” announcement by the NHL yet, it sounds like that may happen soon.
The Lightning’s morning skate at Philips Arena was uneventful, and it was good to see former Lightning PR intern Trevor Van Knotsenburg, whose now a member of the Thrashers staff that also includes former Lightning PR Manager Brian Potter.
Following the skate Lightning coach John Tortorella discussed a variety of issues with the media and the broadcast crew from VERSUS, which will televise tonight’s game. One of the first topics was goaltender Johan Holmqvist.
“He’s been a big part of us getting back on track,” Tortorella said. “We just want a chance, and he’s given us that and then some.”
Tortorella added that he felt the Lightning hadn’t played well against Washington Friday night and that Holmqvist had allowed the team to steal two points.
Tortorella was direct about the team’s overall play against the Caps.
“We spent a lot of time watching tape yesterday. The team had better understand and assess their play. I hope they understand they need to change things. Tonight’s a very important game to see how we react.”