THE LIGHTNING INSIDER
Nothing like a win in Sunrise to lift the spirits in the Lightning locker room! Considering what a horror show it’s been for Tampa Bay at the BankAtlantic Center (two wins in the past 13 visits), Saturday’s 5-3 win against the Panthers provided a huge boost. Florida has been playing well lately and was on the cusp of reaching .500 in the standings entering the game, so the loss was equally upsetting for the Panthers. (Sorry there weren’t any updates Friday or Saturday, the Insider took a road trip off!)
It’s especially nice to see the team pull off a win and score five times without a goal from Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis or Vaclav Prospal. Nick Tarnasky and Brad Richards stepped to the forefront with two goals each, and Jan Hlavac added another important goal as his confidence starts to grow again.
Two wins in a row on the road, and points in three in a row and four of five on the road? Could the Lightning’s road fortunes be changing? The team has definitely improved its road play of late, but now the problem is winning at home. After a blistering start the Bolts have dropped four in a row and five of six at the St. Pete Times Forum and need to pull out of the slide tomorrow night against Colorado.
Today’s agenda for the team included an 11 a.m. practice in Brandon followed by some video work in preparation for the Avalanche. Defenseman Dan Boyle continues to practice with the team, testing his surgically-repaired wrist more and more in shooting drills.
Now to the latest email questions:
Tim asks: “What's the latest on the bid for ownership by MacLean or others? Any change, or is Davidson still the owner?”
Tim, the Lightning is still owned by William Davidson’s Palace Sports & Entertainment, which is currently negotiating a sale to OK Hockey. OK Hockey is led by Hollywood Producer Oren Koules, who was originally a member of the Doug MacLean group. It is possible that a purchase agreement could be in place by the end of this month, which would need to be followed by league approval before the transaction could be completed.
James from Oklahoma, as well as Serg, are wondering why rookie Karri Ramo keeps getting the starting nod over Johan Holmqvist.
James and Serg, Lightning coach John Tortorella has talked many times about the same subject with the local media in the past few weeks. Basically, Tortorella hadn’t necessarily planned to “throw Ramo into the fire” this season, but he didn’t feel he was getting the needed results from Holmqvist and Marc Denis. And while Ramo’s win-loss record hasn’t reflected it, the general opinion among the Lightning brass is that the young Finn has given the team a better chance to win during his starts. Tortorella has made it clear that he intends to give the young AHL All-Star the bulk of the duty for the remainder of the season.