Saturday, October 31, 2009

Game 11: NJ in Tampa

Dear NHL schedule makers,

The 3pm ET start time doesn't really work for me. Not on a Saturday. It's a bit too much, um in the middle of my freakin day?

It's a good thing that it's only the New Jersey Devils playing today, since they have to be my least favorite team to watch. They are winning 1-0 and the shot total at the end of the 2nd period is 28-9 for the Devils. Yes, 28-9. It sounded worse earlier when it was 20-4.

Maybe the Lightning are a little confused as well about this early start time?
I bet it's a nice day in St. Petersburg today and they are thinking that maybe a nice slushy beverage is in order.

I love my Lightning, but boys it's a nice day outside on the west coast and I can't justify listening to you play a boring hockey team on the radio. Especially when it is not raining outside. Maybe you can make a comeback in the 3rd period, I'll be happy if you do. If not, let's just save up your energy and um play better on Monday ok?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Game 10: Ottawa in Tampa Preview

The Lightning are hosting the 10th annual Tampa Fights Cancer Night which is part of a local initiative to raise awareness about the disease and to 'join in the act of putting cancer on ice'. Fans are encouraged to wear yellow to the game. This will be the end of a week-long collaboration between the Lightning and the Yerrid Foundation.

As per

Ten local organizations have been sponsored for the Lightning-Senators game: Children's Cancer Center; Children's Dream Fund; All Children's Hospital; Faces of Courage; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Moffitt Cancer Center; Pediatric Cancer Foundation; Ronald McDonald House; 1 Voice; and Tampa General Hospital.

On a personal note, cancer is a disease that has affected my family more than once. It is a terrible disease that discriminates against no one. I commend the Lightning and NHL for being so active and outspoken in their various Hockey Fights Cancer campaigns.

Interesting trivia to note: The Lightning have not lost a game on a Tampa Fights Cancer Night.

Just a thought.

Enemy Blog
: Sens at Land's End

The Senators won against the Panthers last night 4-3. Three goals in the second period were too much for the Panthers to handle. They spanked us the last time they played us, I try to forget about that 7-1 drubbing, but it really hasn't been long enough.

I hope the players feel the same way. There's no reason I need to watch another terrible performance by the Lightning on TSN. No one believes me up here in the North that the Lightning can, well some days, they can look like a real NHL team.

Hopefully the Lightning have learnt from their loss against the Senators that they are going to need to play another 60 solid minutes tonight.

The Lightning are currently 2nd in the league in faceoffs at 54.2 percent which is right behind the Sharks' 57.1 percent. Zenon Konopka has a faceoff record of 70.2 % right now, that's winning 40 out of 57 draws he's taken.

Line-up Notes:

Game time: 7:00pm ET. On SUN, and TSN!

Updates to follow if they happen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lightning news, well not really news

It's been a little dull in the Lightning world since Saturday. Here's some newsy things about Saw VI, Oren Koules and James Wright:

Saw VI

Losing the #1 spot at the box office to Paranormal,
Saw VI opened this past weekend in the #2 spot to a weak $14.8 million, which is a drop from the average $30 million openings for Saw II through V. But don't feel bad for Koules/Lionsgate or anything, the film only cost $11 million to make, so they'll see a profit. If you think this means the end for the Saw franchise, think again, it's already in pre-production for Saw VII.

Oren Koules

Q. Besides the Saw franchise, do you know what else Oren Koules is the exec producer for?

A. Two and a Half Men

No one talks about Two and a Half Men, only about Saw, which makes me wonder why. Anyways, so besides being busy during the opening weekend of Saw VI, he also threw an after party for Saw VI
at his wife's newly opened restaurant "Wonderland". I like how he keeps the money in the family, which would make him the type of guy that would give out tickets to Lightning to his friends for Christmas (this may or may not be true).

Will he stay or will he go?

Thursday night's game is the 10th game of the season, which means that if the Lightning don't intend to keep Wright, then they would be sending him back to juniors before he plays his 10th game. Once he does play it, no matter how many games he ends up playing going forward, he is able to count one year of pro hockey played out of his 3 year entry contract, which will affect his FA status in the future.

Even if he plays his 10th game, the Lightning can still send him back down, but clubs rarely do.
But from what I've read, which really hasn't been much, it seems like he will be staying.

Tocchet says that he expects to have Wright in the lineup for Thursday. Some gushing words from the coach:

"He's 19 but you wouldn't know it," Tocchet said. "He's a very mature kid. It's a credit to his family and his parents, he's such a mature kid. He doesn't get too high or too low, that's what I like about him. He's wide-eyed on the bench, and I'm telling you he's been a pleasure to coach."

Wrighter says he would be excited about staying:
"If that's true, then I'd be ecstatic," Wright said of staying past nine games. "It's something coming to camp, you know it's a long shot, but it's something I've been waiting for. I've been working hard the whole time to try to stick with the A group."

I don't know if keeping Wright will hurt the Lightning in the long run, burning through the 1st year of his contract this fast, but the question for the Lightning should be:
Will Wright gain anything from being sent back down to play in the juniors? Or is the NHL the best option?

Paul Ranger takes personal leave

Yes yes, I'm a little slow with the news. Last few days have been a little crazy, but I'll be back to writing tonight.

Ranger is taking personal leave from the team:

“Before Saturday’s morning skate for the Buffalo game, Paul indicated to coach Rick Tocchet that he and the team might be better served if he took a personal leave,” Lawton said upon making the announcement. “After some internal consultation and further discussions with Paul, we agreed with him on both fronts and intend on allowing him the personal time he needs. There will be no further comment from the Lightning or our players and coaches on this matter and we ask that everyone please respect Paul’s privacy at this time.”-Lightning Strikes

Friday, October 23, 2009

Game 9: Buffalo in Tampa Preview

Did you watch Flashpoint last night?

One of the characters was named Ryan Malone. I don't know what this has to do with tonight's game, but I thought that was pretty cool. What else is cool? Flashpoint has Amy Jo Johnson in it. She used to be the pink power ranger. So cool (you know it is, don't deny it).

Oh this is a hockey preview, I'm sorry, back to your regular programming:

The Lightning have come off of a strong team effort against the Sharks on Thursday night. It's amazing what 60 minutes of (pretty) solid play can do for your faith in a team. Tonight is baby step number two, really, it's the chance the Lightning have to show that Thursday night wasn't a one shot deal.
So tonight, the we welcome the Buffalo Sabres!

Their logo looks like a slug.

There are even a website, aptly named 'Sabres, Not Slugs'. They even have a section called Hate the Logo Haiku. I think that's pretty fantastic.

Enemy Blog
: Check out Vance's blog Double Edged Sabres
, he's one of the writers for the always hilarious Bangin Panger

Buffalo has been a team that, well has been acting a little like Colorado or Phoenix lately, they've been winning games, even though you don't really expect them too. They are one of those teams that are just there, like they may or may not make the playoffs any given year, but never seem to get better as a team. Kinda reminds me of the Leafs.

I didn't expect Buffalo to be any good, but their record surprises me, as they are 5-1-1 so far. I do have Ryan Miller on my fantasy team so I haven't complained so far about his great play. He is 13-3-0 with a 2.79 GAA in his 16 career starts against the Lightning. But tonight, that really has to stop.

Last game Mike Smith got his first win of the season and he'll be
back in net again tonight. St. Louis has a 8 game point streak going that I hope to see continue. Malone has has 6 goals in the last 5 games, and the crazy statistic is that he has an accuracy rate of 29.2% on his shots.

And of course, Vinny still hasn't scored his 1st goal of the season, do you think he is a bit overdue? Tocchet has some nice words for him after last game: “I think this was Vinny’s most solid game of the year,”, “I don’t care that he didn’t score, he was very solid.” I think the scoring will come. Like he's gonna score 3 goals in one night, and we're all just gonna forget about even having had this discussion. Relax people, the goals will come.

Not quite as cool as when the Staals play against each other, and that's just because they have their own drinking game, but Ryan Miller will play against his brother Drew Miller tonight. Drew, 25 is the younger of the two, as Ryan is 29. Warm fuzzy story about their them growing up can be found here.

Line-up Notes
  • Mike Smith is starting tonight
  • David Hale gets to start on D again
  • Kurtis Foster is scratched from the game
Game time: 7:30pm ET. Updates to follow if they happen.

No recap of this game, because I'll be watching the Tronna vs Vancouver game instead. Head over to Raw Charge for a recap if you want a good one. Vancouver clearly has no say in their own local start time because when the center of the universe wants their game at 7pm ET, well then, they get it. 4pm start time, in my own city. Blasphemy!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lightning 5, Sharks 2 - Bolts WIN!

The Lightning won this game with a huge team effort. I could hardly believe this was the same team we saw lose to the Senators and the Pens last week. This team looked like a team that could actually play hockey.

Barely into the 1st period, just 30 seconds in,
Lecavalier makes a pass to St. Louis, who feeds the puck to a speeding Wright that is coming towards the goal and he taps the puck in the back of the net. Fans hadn't even sat down in their seats yet and this new line has already gotten it's first goal. This is the same rookie who just got promoted to the top line with St. Louis and Lecavalier, who also got his 1st NHL goal tonight, just 30 seconds in to the period.

The Lightning extended the lead by a deflection from Ryan Malone off of David Hale's shot, they are up 2-0 to end the 1st period.


In the second period the Lightning were able to kill off a penalty that Stamkos took for holding, and kept the Sharks from mustering any real shots on the powerplay. A turnover led to the Sharks getting a goal from Ryan Vesce on Mike Smith, 2-1. It's ok, the Lightning still look good playing. Stamkos steals the puck from behind the net, fans on the original shot but gets Nabokov to commit to his attempt, then manages to get a wrist shot off, 3-1, unassisted by Stamkos.

In the third period, Andrej Meszaros gets a shot off from near the blue line that ended up going off a San Jose skater, 4-1. While Lecavalier is off in the box for slashing, Boyle is able to get a powerplay goal on Mike Smith making it 4-2. But it's really too late, and Tanguay, even though he has no goals so far, feels Dan Boyle breathing down his back as he skates the puck, passes the puck to Stamkos who gets an empty net goal. Tanguay could have taken the shot and been checked or hooked, instead unselfishly passed the puck for the goal. Team effort.

Was tonight a showing of what we could see in the future? I hope so.

Next game Saturday night against Buffalo


-Mike Smith got his first win of the season
-The Lightning blocked 12 shots, with Hedman leading with 3

-Joe Thornton and Dany Heatley didn't get a shot on net

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Game 8: San Jose in Tampa

The Sharks are a scary team right now. On the offensive, the leaders in the pack right now are the Sharks and the Capitals. It's Green Night tonight where if you ride your bike in, this game is FREE? Full details of that madness can be found here in their presser.

Enemy Blog
: Check out the bloggers from
Couch Tarts for their always fabulous hockey cartoons.

The Lightning are opening up a 4 game home stand with the Sharks tonight, though the schedule is still stupid with a Thurs/Sat game then no hockey for 5 days, then another Thurs/Sat game.

Chances of winning tonight, are well, slim in my opinion. The Sharks tore apart the Rangers the other night 7-3.
And unless the media (twitter) melee of the strip shoot out game produced a miracle of a Lightning team that can actually play hockey, well, we may be the next team to be torn apart by the Sharks.

Rookie James Wright gets to move up to the top line to be the LW for Lecavalier and St. Louis. This is all being done in an effort to spark Lecavalier's scoring. I had hoped this would have been done sooner, as I never thought Downie looked good skating with Lecavalier. Wright's role will be to forecheck and work hard for the puck.

Mike Smith is still searching for his 1st win the season, and Tocchet thinks it will be him in starting in net cause he looked on in practice on Sunday.

Quote of the day is from Dan Boyle on the players that are on the Lightning team that he used to play with:

"Knowing some of the guys I know, I don't wish them anything bad," Boyle said. "I want them to succeed and stuff. Selfishly, part of me, obviously, still has a problem with the guys up top. I don't want the guys I know to be going through this. That's more important than those two guys up there."-St. Petersburg Times

Line-up Notes
  • Mike Smith is expected to start tonight
  • James Wright is up on the top line with Lecavalier and St. Louis
  • 2nd line: Malone, Stamkos, Downie
  • 3rd line: Tanguay, Halpern, Miller
  • 4th line: Fedoruk, Konopka, Veilleux
  • Kurtis Foster is scratched from the game
Game time: 7:30pm ET on SUN. Updates to follow if they happen.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wright's Promotion, and Chamber Luncheon Pics

Tocchet said that Tanguay and Lecavalier needed to get "uglier". What he means is that Lecavalier and Tanguay can't keep wanting to get great goals, sometimes the goals are going to be garbage goals. Right now, the top line, which is now Lecavalier, St. Louis and Wright need to get any goals, pretty or ugly.

James Wright is 19 years old, and 7 games
in to his NHL career, gets to be on a line with Lecavalier and St. Louis. Great quote from him in the Times today:
"Wearing the same jersey as them is pretty special," Wright said. "And to be on the same line as them is awesome."

The Lightning have two more games to decide if Wright will remain with the Lightning or be sent back down to the juniors to play for the Vancouver Giants. He's so new to this, he can't cash a cheque yet from the Lightning because he doesn't have a social security number yet. His second great quote today on how he is getting by without a paycheck:

"I got a loan from my parents," he said. "Zero percent interest rate."

Love this kid.

And from the Chamber Luncheon today, enjoy the photos:
Players checking out photos in the locker room before the cha... on Twitpic

And my favorite baby Swede:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lightning 1, Penguins 4 - Bolts LOSE

Ok, it's Sunday night and I am just getting around to my review of last night.

Despite what TSN says about a game tomorrow against the Rangers, there is no game until Thursday.

In fact, the Lightning never play the Rangers on a Monday. It seems they are confusing the Lightning with the San Jose Sharks, which is maybe what I should really start doing when I want to watch some decent hockey. The TSN writers also forgot that Wild has a D in it.

The Lightning were outplayed last night by the Pens. I only caught the 1st period but that was really enough for me. It was like they forgot to play hockey. No offense and just looked like they were trying to fight off each wave of offense from the Pens. It was crushing to watch.

While on the powerplay from a high stick from Drew Miller, Niitymaki over committed to a shot from Malkin, and with Ranger taking a walk somewhere instead of covering his guy, Guerin was able to easily stuff it in, 1-0. Later in the period, Gonchar lets a blast go from the point, which Niitymaki should have seen coming, 2-0 ending the 1st period.

Stamkos did score in the 2nd period from a rebound from St. Louis while on the powerplay. The Pens got goals from Dupuis and Rupp in the 2nd and 3rd period respectively.

GM Brian Lawton gave the team a verbal lashing after the game, which could be overhead by reporters, though the specifics were not released about what was said. It's pretty big when a GM talks to the team directly, though was this the best thing for Lawton to do? They did just lose to last years Stanley Cup Team. MAF hasn't lost a game yet this year. And is it Lawton's job to address the team directly or Tocchet's?

Today Cristodero is reporting that the lines are being switched up (again) with Tanguay being demoted down to the 3rd line with Halpern and Miller. The top line is Lecavalier, St. Louis and rookie James Wright, and the 2nd line is Malone, Stamkos and Steve Downie. The 4th line will remain the same with Fedoruk, Konopka and Veilleux.

Just for the record, the Lightning have not won a road game yet, and Vinny hasn't scored in 14 games.

Next game: Thursday in Tampa against the Sharks

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Game 7: Tampa in Pittsburgh

I just about cried last game. Mike Smith sucks. It's a good thing he's not playing tonight.

Enemy Blog: The Pensblog. Head over and check our their blog later when their game day post is up. Always a good read, or at least amusing.

Also check out the Puck Huffers for a recap of the game from their intern (who is such a natural PH writer) and their game awards.

Now to start off, I like the Penguins, in fact I even adopted them as my playoff team last year. I watched a game at a bar with a die hard Pens fans last year when they got smoked by Detroit and still I cheered for them. I cheered when they won the SCF this year. But this is a new season, and they are playing my boys tonight, so now they are the enemy.

The Lightning need a game to forget about what happened in Ottawa. Having a game against the Pens tonight, well I don't know if this is gonna help the forgetting, but I hope the Lightning at least bring their gameface. The Penguins are 6-1-0, and this is the first of a five game homestand at Mellon Arena.

Since Mike Smith sucks, Niitymaki is back in net for the Lightning, so we should have an improvement at least on goals that the goalie 'should have gotten'. Last game Lecavalier played well, but still no dice on a goal with Tanguay. Steven Downie is back up on the 1st line as right wing. I think fans/media should really give up on making such a big deal about who Lecavalier and Tanguay need to have as a right wing, too big of a deal has been made for a position that neither Downie or Veilleux seems to be able to fill. Lecavalier and Tanguay need to make it happen with whoever gets put on their line.

The Times is writing that Tocchet isn't playing Nittymaki tonight just because Smith sucked last night. I care to disagree. Smith sucked, so he shouldn't start, in fact he should have been pulled after the 4th goal last game. Starting Niitymaki should challenge Smith is get his game back, then he can go back to being the starting goaltender when he is playing, um, at least reasonably.

Now, I'm not saying it was all Smiths fault last game, no Hedman sucked too. And the Tampa Bay powerplay as well. The boys need to focus on getting a shot from the point that get's to the net, and need a body in front of the goalie. The other teams know we like to shoot from the point, so we either need to make the puck get to the net or change up how we attack the pp.

After tonight no Lightning hockey until next thursday against the Sharks, enjoy it.

Game Time: 7:30 pm on SUN

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Game 6: Tampa in Ottawa Preview

Our boys are up in Ottawa tonight to face the Senators.

Enemy Blog: Sens at Land's End

The Senators lost their game to the Pens on Tuesday night 4-1, ending their 3 game win streak. The Lightning have won the last two and are looking to make it three. There is a switchup in net tonight with Smith back in and Nitty on the bench. The Lightning keep saying that Smith is healthy, but he'll need a strong game to show me that. The stats for road games and games against the Senators is pretty awful, being 0-5-3 in their last eight road games, and 3-16-2 against Ottawa.

What do I know about the Senators these days? Um I know that Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher are still together. I like the addition of Milan Michalek, since I liked him in San Jose, but for in the trade for Dany Heatley, I guess Ottawa got the best they could get with his antics. Cheechoo doesn't count for me, because his stats was really a product of being on a line with Joe Thornton.

Quote of the day:

"The first two periods I don't think we played Tampa Bay hockey," Tocchet said. "A little bit too much river boat gambling and trading chances for chances."
-Lightning website

Tocchet should really stay away from the gambling references, don't want to give anyone the wrong idea or anything.

Line-up Notes:
Mike Smith is back as the starter in goal for the Lightning, and Kurtis Foster is back on defense coming back from his lower body injury.

Game time: 7:30pm ET. On SUN, and TSN!

Updates to follow if they happen.
This is the first game of their two game road trip before 5 days of no Lightning hockey, enjoy this while you can.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lightning "Green" night

I know that we are making a push for being green as a society...but there's something about $5 tickets that seem to scream pre-Phoenix Coyotes situation to me. We saw the same promotion last season as well, but that was when we were completely sucking. Now, well, we've won 2 games in a I'm still hopeful.

But to run a promotion like this, against a team like the Sharks, it's a little embarrassing. A little air of desperation? Like vodka with hockey tickets?

I know that management is just trying to get as many bodies in seats possible, because a little bit of money is better than no money, but once it catches wind to fans with teams with sold out venues or fans of Canadian teams, well the fan boards just eat it up and make Tampa seem laughable.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lightning 3, Panthers 2 - Bolts WIN!

Last game was the Malone show, tonight was the Niitymaki show.

The Panthers came on strong in the 1st period, and while the boys were able to kill off a 5 on 3 (while our two swedes sat in the box together), the Lightning gave up a short handed goal to Dvorak at 8:10. The Lightning answered back late in the 1st with a powerplay goal by Stamkos from St. Louis and Lecavalier.

In the 2nd period, the Lightning came out with more energy, though only Nathan Horton scored for the Panthers putting them up 2-1.

In the 3rd period, while on the powerplay, Vinny passes the puck up to St. Louis who is coming on the left side, but being boxed out by the Florida defenseman. The shot that St. Louis wrists in on Vokoun comes from the left circle with no screen, somehow goes in a Vokoun. Vokoun wanted that one back since he clearly should have had that, but that's as bad as I'm gonna feel for him. Then, Niitymaki starts making some timely saves on the Panthers. The Panthers are applying pressure like crazy, with Booth on a breakaway chance. Niitymaki makes the save, then passes the puck up to Stamkos, who takes a shot on Vokoun. Save by Vokoun on the 1st shot, but Malone gets in the rebound to edge the Lightning up 3-2.

Niitymaki made some timely saves, and sometimes multiple saves in a sequence. And when he didn't, the crossbar helped him out in the 3rd period.

Notes: Vinny hasn't scored yet this season, but he did get 2 assists tonight, bringing him up to 5 in the season so far.

Next game: Thursday Oct 15 in Ottawa

Game 5: Panthers in Tampa Preview

Sorry for no preview or recap for the Malone show of Game 4. It is the Canadian Thanksgiving here, so although I planned to write something, things didn't happen according to plan.

Enemy blog: Litter Box Cats

Quick bullet points before tonight's game:
  • The Panthers have dropped three straight and the Lightning are looking to make it two straight wins at home. The Panthers have been struggling with their PK so far this season, and their powerplay is even worse, currently being ranked dead last in the NHL at efficiency of 6.2%.
  • The Lightning on the other had a strong game against Carolina with 39 shots on goal. Niittymaki's solid performance in Saturday night's game has him getting the nod from Tocchet to start again tonight.
  • Mike Smith says he was "healthy" and could have started on Saturday. Though I think the Lightning wanted to give Smith a little extra time to recover and be evaluated after being run over in the NJ game.
Game time: 7:30pm ET

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Game 3: NJ in Tampa Preview

Tonight is the season opener for the Lightning. We're hosting the also struggling New Jersey Devils.

Enemy blog: Running with the Devils

The Devils are off to their worst start in 8 years, losing 2 games in a row. They have a new coach, who, is just more defensive than the last one. But they have also beaten us the last 8 times we've met.

Tonight Mike Smith will need to have a strong game against the Devils. The top line of "Lecavalier-Tanguay-instert name here" will need to start producing, because 2 points (assists) in 2 games for Lecavalier and Tanguay is terrible.

Line up stuff?
  • Stephane Veilleux will be back up at Vinny's winger, with the experiment of Steven Downie moving down to the 4th line. The search for a right wing for Lecavalier and Tanguay still goes on, and with only 2 assists for the line so far, I hope that they find a good fit soon
  • Kurtis Foster is practicing, but it isn't likely that he'll play, though he might be in the lineup by Saturday.
  • Mike Smith will get the start again in goal tonight.
Game time: 7:30pm ET. Updates to follow as they happen.

Lightning send Smaby to AHL for conditioning

Since Smaby hasn't played yet, and it doesn't look like he will soon, he's been sent to Norfolk for a conditioning assignment. Cristodero explains it well about why this is being done. Conditioning assignments can last no more than 14 days, and Smaby will still remain on the Lightning's 23 man roster. This will be good for him just to get some playing time in instead of sitting around in the press box.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lightning 1, Hurricanes 1 - Bolts LOSE

Today's recap is brought to you by NHL GameCenter.

This screen shot is similar to what I saw when I got home today from work to catch the game, but sub in "No feed available" instead of the score in the middle of the page.

$&%#@%$ GameCenter! The NHL themselves tell me there is "no feed available", just shows you how much they care about these markets. Aparently there was no feed available locally for fans either. Thus, no detailed recap.

Here's what you get: Jokinen scored for Carolina in the 1st. Malone scored in the 2nd. Overtime solved nothing. Lightning lost in the shootout. We walked away with our first point in the season.

Next games is our season opener in Tampa against the Devils.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Game 2: Tampa in Carolina Preview

So last game didn't go as well as I had hoped. Actually it was pretty terrible. We outshot the Thrashers 39-28, but lost 6-3.

That's ok, the season's still fresh, game #2 tonight.

Enemy blog: The Life and Times of a Caniac

The Hurricanes have lost the two games they have played so far, to the Flyers and the Bruins respectively. They also lost Eric Cole four to six weeks to a fracture in his lower left leg from a collision in the Bruins game with Wideman. They have also re-signed Cam Ward to a 6 year extension, who with a large contract, like Luongo, are doing a good job at playing themselves off of Team Canada.

With Eric Cole out, Tuomo Ruutu has been skating in his spot to be Eric Staal's winger. Ruutu was Staal's winger last year, so this won't be that much of an adjustment.
Tim Conboy will come up to play in Ruutu's spot.

The Lightning need to improve on the number of goals let in per game and for that Mike Smith really has to show up ready to play tonight.

Game time 7pm ET.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Game 1: Tampa in Atlanta Preview

Enemy Blog: Wazzupwitchu

It's been like 2 years since we've had a meaningful game. We could have one tonight, but my pessimistic side from last year is starting to kick in telling me not to get too excited. Maybe after 5 games I'll get excited.

Tonight is Hedman's debut in his first NHL regular season game.

Tonight could be the first win of the season.

Tonight Tocchet will actually have a veteran defenseman in Ohlund to play for him. And a winger, named Tanguay who doesn't rob you of your money.

Mike Smith, Andrej Meszaros and Paul Ranger are all back from injury. Questions about Mike Smith's recovery from his injury will be addressed over the new few games. And questions about the quickness that Vinny has been talking about remains to be answered.

Expectations are lower and I think that's better for the Lightning. I really have no expectations of the team this year. It would be nice if they could be a little better so I don't get made fun of supporting such a crappy team this year.

So the boys are in Atlanta to face Pavel Kubina, and Nik Antropov of the Leafs, wait, you say they are called the Thrashers now? Whatever, same team, just less offensive fans. This new team of ex-Leafs should be just as bad as last years Leafs. Their 4th pick, Evander Kane, is also making his NHL debut tonight. Go Bolts!

Game Time: 7pm ET