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After losing their way on the road, Tampa Bay Lightning found themselves, at home

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
December 4, 2017


TAMPA – For the better part of a week, the Tampa Bay Lightning looked like nomads wandering around the Northeast unable to find themselves.

Nothing like finding the path back home to rediscover who you are.

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"We’ve lost that little fire,'' Tampa Bay Lightning face first rough patch of the season

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
December 1, 2017


BRANDON – Taking a quick glimpse at Lightning practice on Friday provided the appearance that it was an optional skate.

To the contrary, everybody that was able to practice was on the ice. It was just that thin on healthy and available bodies.

Nothing like a little adversity to get the juices flowing again

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Tampa Bay Lightning swap goaltenders in minor trade

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
November 14, 2017


TAMPA – The Tampa Bay Lightning once again showed on Tuesday the organization is not shy about moving on quickly from a move that didn’t work out.

During the summer, the signing of veteran goaltender Michael Leighton figured to be a perfect fit on paper. An experienced netminder who has played in the Stanley Cup Final looked to be quality insurance as the No. 3 goaltender on the depth chart behind Andrei Vasilevskiy and Peter Budaj while serving as the No. 1 goalie in Syracuse who could help mentor first-year pro Connor Ingram.

One month in to the season, Leighton was moved to the Arizona Coyotes along with veteran forward Tye McGinn in exchange for 25-year-old goaltender Louis Domingue, who will report to Syracuse.

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Tampa Bay Lightning looking to reset after record start

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
November 3, 2017


BRANDON – October proved fruitful for the Lightning, setting all sorts of opening-month franchise marks.

That success has put a mark squarely on the team’s back that every other team is aiming for.

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Looking back at a record breaking October for the Tampa Bay Lightning

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 31, 2017


The Tampa Bay Lightning finished off the best opening month to the season in franchise history.

So as the calendar turns to November, let’s go back and recap the month of October.

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Weekly NHL Power Rankings

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 30, 2017


Who’s on top, who’s rising and who sits at the bottom.

No, we’re not talking about the current state of the standings (that would be way too easy to do). Instead, we present to you the weekly NHL power rankings, going from 1-31 (yes, 31, remember the Vegas Golden Knights became the newest team, which you might notice early on in this countdown).

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Stamkos reaches milestones to earn player of the week honors; Kucherov named second star

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 23, 2017


TAMPA – Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov sit first and second in league scoring.

On Monday, the linemates were named First and Second Star of the Week, respectively, with Stamkos reaching a couple of milestones in the process.

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What it means to Tampa Bay Lightning to knock off two powerhouse teams in succession

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 13, 2017


TAMPA – Opening week figured to be a gauntlet of games for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Florida, Florida, Washington and Pittsburgh were the first four games on the schedule. St. Louis comes next.

That’s two against a seemingly improved Florida team, the next two against Eastern Conference powers and then there’s tonight’s game against a Blues team that always seems to find a way to get in to the postseason while residing in hockey’s toughest division, the Central.

But it was the middle portion that figured to be a good test for a Lightning squad many are predicting to be a favorite to win the Eastern Conference this season. And it was those two teams that in recent history have given Tampa Bay all sorts of trouble.

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Lightning open first regular season practice, reveal opening night roster

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
October 2, 2017


BRANDON – The Lightning started off the regular season on Monday.

Tampa Bay hit the ice for the first time since finishing off the preseason and revealed what the 23-man roster is expected to look like when the official is submitted to the league ahead of Tuesday’s roster deadline. The full squad went through the paces of a 90-minute practice while preparing to face the Florida Panthers in the season opener on Friday at Amalie Arena.

Judging from the combinations and pairings, the opening night lineup appears to be set.

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Herrejon: Taking a look at the Lightning's chances in the Atlantic Division

By Dan Herrejon | @DanHerrejon | Like us on Facebook
October 2, 2017


The 2017-18 NHL Season is upon us. A clean slate for your Tampa Bay Lightning. The new beginning for the majority of the players to forget about last season’s disappointing end missing the playoffs.

Many NHL prognosticators believe that not only do the Lightning will bounce back into the playoffs, many preseason predictions have the Bolts winning the Atlantic Division.

As we head into the opening week of the marathon known as the NHL season, let’s take a look at what is in store for the Lightning in the Atlantic this year.

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Herrejon: Critical season for Ryan Callahan

By Dan Herrejon | @DanHerrejon | Like us on Facebook
October 2, 2017


So many times you hear old sports clichés about certain players as a new season begins. When that particular player is coming off the fewest number of regular season games played in over a decade, the noise becomes loud.

When the player in question has the third highest salary cap hit, the spotlight can be blinding. For Ryan Callahan, he is that player and the new season has fans concerned about the team’s Alternate Captain.

Callahan came to Tampa in exchange for Marty St. Louis in March of 2014 in a blockbuster trade with the New York Rangers. It would probably surprise many to know that after that mammoth deal, Callahan actually outperformed St. Louis for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.

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More positives to be found for Lightning despite latest preseason setback

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 28, 2017


SUNRISE – Preseason results can prove to be about as helpful as a screwdriver to pound in a nail.

They don’t really tell the story.

Thursday’s preseason loss to the Florida Panthers looks lopsided as the Lightning lost the game 5-2. On the surface, it’s not good.

But let’s pull out our shovel and dig a little deeper than that. Because this was probably Tampa Bay’s best game of the preseason with plenty to build off of heading in to Saturday’s preseason finale at Nashville.

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A not so sharp showing for Lightning at a time they can't afford to be dull

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 26, 2017


SUNRISE – It’s just the preseason.

Yes, I understand that, b…..

It’s just the preseason.

No, I totally get it, the games don’t have any mean…..

I said, it’s just preseason.

I get where you are coming from, there is still more than a week before the regular. . . .

I SAID THAT THIS IS JUST PRESEASON!!!!!!!

I imagine this is the struggle many had as Tampa Bay’s fifth preseason game unfolded, wrestling internally with the way things transpired. Because, after all, it is just preseason.

But there should be some cause for alarm as the start of the regular season draws closer after watching Tuesday’s 4-2 loss at Florida.

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What to look for in Tampa Bay Lightning preseason Game No. 5

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 25, 2017


SUNRISE – Tampa Bay returns to the ice in preseason action on Tuesday at BB&T Center against Florida with the final roster decisions looming before facing the Florida Panthers in the regular season opener on Oct. 6.

The team pared the roster down to 26 players, so the lineup for the final three games will start to give a glimpse in to what might be on the horizon not only for the final roster spots but the line combinations and defensive pairings as well.

So with that in mind, a quick look at what to look for tonight as Tampa Bay faces Florida for the first of two preseason games at BB&T this week.

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Everything you need to know from Monday's practice: Cuts, line combos plus Dotchin/Stralman update

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 25, 2017


BRANDON – Monday proved moving day for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Plenty of players moved out before the team headed out of town for six days in order to prepare for the season opener on Oct. 6 against the Florida Panthers. Cuts were made as the roster was pared down to 30 (unofficially they are at 26) and the time to start final preparations for opening night are underway.

So here’s the ins and outs of what you need to know from practice at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

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Tampa Bay Lightning to retire No. 4 in honor of former captain Vinny Lecavalier

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 25, 2017


TAMPA – The Lightning will add some company to the rafters.

Vinny Lecavalier is being immortalized.

Tampa Bay announced on Monday that the team will honor Lecavalier by holding a jersey retirement ceremony for the former team captain, raising his No. 4 to the rafters to join Marty St. Louis, who saw his No. 26 retired last season.

The ceremony will take place on Feb. 10, 2018, prior to the game against the Los Angeles Kings, the last team Lecavalier played for prior to retiring.

Lecavalier said he received a personal phone call from team owner Jeff Vinik, informing him of the team’s plan.

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Tampa Bay Lightning preseason Game Four - the standouts and quiet

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 24, 2017


TAMPA – Preseason game No. 4 for the Lightning featured a much different look than the previous game two days earlier.

Sunday against Florida, Tampa Bay put a virtual prospect team on the ice, particularly among the forward group. It was a stark contrast to the group put on the ice Friday against Nashville that was to heavy with the likes of Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.

Instead, the team facing the Panthers featured five forwards yet to appear in an NHL game. So just as was the case with the first three preseason games, it wasn’t about the results, it was more about evaluation and assessing.

So here are some thoughts and observations from Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the Florida Panthers, plus a quick note on why Jake Dotchin has yet to play in a preseason game.

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After 10 months away, Steven Stamkos returns to the lineup

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 22, 2017


TAMPA – Hours and hours that amount to days and weeks of training and rehabilitation go on display for Steven Stamkos.

The Lightning captain is unofficially back and ready to go as he will be in the lineup for Tampa Bay's preseason game on Friday against the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena.

The game will be the first for Stamkos since Nov. 15, 2016, when he suffered a partially torn meniscus in his right knee which required surgery and kept him out the rest of the season. Needless to say, he's ready to get back on the ice in game action.

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Tampa Bay Lightning preseason opener - The Good and The Too Quiet

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 19, 2017


TAMPA – The preseason is not measured on wins and losses.

It’s a time to evaluate. From young players looking to make an impression to position battles being determined to veterans looking to get ready for the regular season. So in the long run, results don’t have a great impact.

As Tampa Bay opened the preseason with a 2-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes – a game that featured 18 minor penalties, nine of them slashing calls - let’s evaluate what we saw out of a Lightning lineup that featured seven players drafted in either 2016 or 2017.

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Lightning preseason lineup has some known names along with names worth knowing

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 18, 2017


BRANDON – After four days of grueling practice days and beating up on each other, the Lightning finally get the chance to drop the puck and battle against a different sweater.

Tampa Bay opens the seven-game preseason schedule at Amalie Arena on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against the Carolina Hurricanes to start a four-game week for the Lightning. With 63 players in training camp, the lineups early in the week are going to lack many familiar names as the Lightning management and coaching staff want to get a look at some of the team’s prospects in game action before starting the process of reducing the number of players still in camp.

So keep that in mind as we dissect what the Tampa Bay lineup will be for the preseason opener. While there are no big names in the lineup, there are known names and names worth knowing.

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Training Camp Day 1: Reading in to the line combinations (even if we shouldn't)

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
September 15, 2017


BRANDON – Don’t read in to the first day of camp. Don’t read in to the first day of camp. Don’t read in to the first day of camp.

Let’s read in to the first day of camp, because where is the fun in not reading into the line combinations, defensive pairings and group settings on the first day.

Who did Steven Stamkos line up with? What position is Brayden Point lined up at? Who played with who in the first scrimmage?.

Let’s break it down as best we can.

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Tampa Bay Lightning training camp schedule and roster

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
Sept. 13, 2017


TAMPA - As the recovery from Hurricane Irma continues and life starts to return to a normal pace, the Tampa Bay Lightning expect to stay right on task with training camp, which opens on Thursday.

The team released the schedule for the first five days of camp which leads right up to the first preseason game, as well as the 64-player roster. Four of the opening five days will be open to the public, with three days at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon plus Saturday’s Fan Fest at Amalie Arena.

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Five questions for the Tampa Bay Lightning on the eve of training camp opening

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
Sept. 13, 2017


TAMPA - Hurricane Irma took a toll on the Tampa Bay area over the weekend, bringing a path of disruption that left many without power for days while leaving some homes and property damaged or flooded.

That has also left the Tampa Bay Lightning in a bit of disarray in the days leading up to the start of training camp, which will open on Thursday (Sept. 14) as originally planned. For the time being, nothing has changed on any of those plans. So players will report, Fan Fest will take place on Saturday and the first preseason is scheduled for Tuesday (Sept. 19) against the Carolina Hurricanes.

As an aside, great gesture by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, the NHL and the NHL Player’s Association for contributing a total of $2.7 million to relief efforts for those affected around Florida. Donations can also be made at upcoming Lightning and Panther preseason games

Fans can expect that open practices will be held at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon on Friday and Sunday (Fan Fest will take place at Amalie Arena on Saturday with details below).

So with everything a go for training camp (no official schedule has been established due to all those within the hockey operations department disrupted by the storm), here are the top five story lines to watch as the 2017-18 season starts to swing in to gear.

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Tampa Bay Lightning to open rookie camp on Sept. 7, roster includes 10 first-or-second round picks

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
August 29, 2017


Winter is coming. The boys are getting back together.

But first, the kids. Also known as the prospects.

Before the Tampa Bay Lightning open training camp, the rookies report on Sept. 7 – a week ahead of main camp - to prepare for a four-team tournament at Germain Arena in Estero that begins Sept. 9.

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A minor announcement on a new addition plus an update on my status

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
August 29, 2017


The dog days of summer are rapidly coming to a close. The ice is starting to be put to use at the Ice Sports Forum as Lightning players (and a few former Lightning players) partake in informal workouts, the surest sign of any that training camp is right around the corner.

With that in mind, I want to share with the readers here at LightningInsider.com a share a couple of messages about where things stand as we get set to enter the first full hockey season since this site launched on Jan. 9.

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After signing new seven-year, $35 million contract, Tyler Johnson has a clear mission


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
July 10, 2017


Tyler Johnson has won at nearly every level of competition he’s ever played.

With Spokane he won a Memorial Cup. With Team USA he won gold at the 2010 World Juniors. In the American Hockey League, he own a Calder Cup.

In hockey circles, the former undrafted center is, by definition, a winner.

Now, he hopes to capture the one elusive trophy he has yet to add to the mantle – a Stanley Cup.

Should that happen, he’s almost assured to do that in Tampa after Johnson signed a new seven-year contract on Monday worth $35 million, carrying an annual salary cap hit of $5 million. By signing a new deal, the restricted free agent avoids an arbitration hearing.

The contract pays Johnson, by year - $5 million, $6.75 million, $5.5 million, $3.75 million, $5.5 million, $3.75 million and $4.75 million while including a no-trade clause and a limited no-trade clause toward the tail end of the deal, according to Darren Dreger.

After signing the new deal, Johnson spoke with Lightning Insider on what the new deal means, how bad he wants to win a championship for the fans and what he’s altered to in his training that has him feeling more energized and “transformed’’ his body heading toward training camp.

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Tracking the Lightning off-season - signings with analysis of each move


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
July 7, 2017


The offseason is in full swing.

Lightning summer prospect camp has been completed and the players are all back home for off-season training to prepare for the start of training camp in September.

But while the Lightning settle in to the offseason, there remains plenty of activity to keep track of with player signings and movement around the organization. We’ll track off of it here from trades, trade speculation, free agent signings and restricted free agent status, including arbitration situations while offering some insight on the impact each move has on the organization.

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Tampa Bay Lightning add veterans Girardi, Kunitz and Leighton in free agency


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
July 1, 2017


TAMPA - Tampa Bay did not make a big splash on the first day of NHL free agency.

But they sure did cause a big stir.

In one of the worst kept secrets around the league, the Lightning landed veteran defenseman Dan Girardi to a two-year contract that carries an annual salary cap hit of $3 million. Girardi, 33, was recently bought out of the final three years of his contract with the New York Rangers.

Another veteran, four-time Stanley Cup champion forward Chris Kunitz, was signed to a one-year contract for $2 million with bonus clauses that could pay him up to another $1 million.

Tampa Bay also signed veteran goaltender Michael Leighton to a one-year, two-way contract while bringing some depth defensemenin Mat Bodie and Jamie McBain, both on one-year, two-way contracts along with forward Alex Gallant, also on a one-year, two-way deal.

There was also one trade pulled off as the Lightning sent goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis, an unsigned restricted free agent, to the New York Islanders for forward Carter Verhaeghe, a former third round pick in 2013 by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

But it’s the deal that brought in Girardi that has caused a bit of an uproar.

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Tampa Bay Lightning practice facility to recieve $6 million facelift


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 29, 2017


BRANDON - The Ice Sports Forum is getting a major makeover.

And once again, Tampa Bay Lighting owner Jeff Vinik is stepping up to make it happen.

The official practice rink of the team will soon break ground on an 18,000-square foot extension that will give the team a state-of-the art facility that includes a new locker room, film room and workout area. As part of the upgrades, the Lighting inked a 10-year extension with the Ice Sports Forum to remain as the team’s practice facility.

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Tampa Bay Lightning re-sign Dumont, Conacher while coach Trent Cull leaves the organziation


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 28, 2017


BRANDON - Three days ahead of free agency, the Lightning ensured two of their own did not get away, even if one coach did.

Tampa Bay signed forwards Cory Conacher and Gabriel Dumont each to two-year contracts on Wednesday. Both were scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on Saturday.

While the two players were retained, Syracuse Crunch assistant coach Trent Cull left the team to take the head coaching job with the Utica Comets, the farm team of the Vancouver Canucks.

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Tampa Bay Lightning sign two, issue qualifying offers - analyzing what it all means


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 26, 2017


Tampa Bay Lighting general manager Steve Yzerman got a jump on the summer checklist on Monday, ensuring two players were brought back under contract .

The team also issued qualifying offers to nine players while option not to qualify three other players, including one mild surprise.

There is still plenty of work to be done to round out the roster and prepare for the start of training camp in September to open the 2017-18 season. But Monday’s work likely gets the ball rolling.

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Tampa Bay Lightning development camp schedule and roster


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 24, 2017


The Lightning released the full schedule and roster for this week’s prospect camp that opens Tuesday at the Ice Sports Forum and concludes on Saturday.

The event is free and open to the public each day, including the 3-on-3 tournament that will take place Friday and Saturday. The 3-on-3 tournament will be streamed on the team’s website at www.tampabaylightning.com on the final day of camp.

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Did the Lightning go off the board on day two of the NHL Draft?


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 24, 2017


Chicago – The Lightning draft table lacked much action on Saturday as the NHL Draft concluded with rounds two through seven inside the United Center.

The only noticeable activity came when Director of Scouting Al Murray would rise from his chair and go around to the other side of the table in the few minutes before Tampa Bay was scheduled to make a selection as Murray made a quick poll to ensure the rest of the staff was on board.

So the Lightning entered the day with five picks and ended the day making five selections – two defenseman and three forwards. Among them a pair of Russian players, including one that appeared to be off the conventional board.

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Tampa Bay Lightning land a big Foote on the first day of the NHL draft


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 22, 2017


Chicago – The Lightning headed in to Friday’s first round of the NHL Entry Draft looking to make an impression.

Tampa Bay instead left with a big Foote.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman kept hold of the first round pick and selected defenseman Callan Foote, the son of former NHL defenseman Adam Foote, who was a stalwart on the Colorado Avalanche during the team’s run of success.

The younger Foote - who wears a size 16 skate - may not have the same nastiness in his game that his father played with, but Cal Foote brings a competitive fire to his game to go with a strong hockey IQ, according to scouting reports. And he’s right-handed, something the organization continues to covet.

But Foote doesn't carry the same type of game as his father, and his dad said that's just fine.

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Full 2017-18 Tampa Bay Lightning season schedule released


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 22, 2017


Chicago – The Lightning don’t have to leave the state to open up the 2017-18 season.

Tampa Bay opens up the season with back-to-back games against in-state rival Florida Panthers on Oct. 6 and 7, starting with the season opener at Amalie Arena followed the next night at BB&T Center in Sunrise.

The league’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights, make their first trip to Amalie Arena on Jan. 18 while former Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop makes his return to Tampa with the Dallas Stars on Nov. 16. Jonathan Drouin, who was traded last week to the Montreal Canadiens, faces his former team for the first time when the Canadiens come to Amalie Arena on Dec. 28.

Tampa Bay will also have two matinees on the home schedule, on back to back weeks as both the March 3 game against Philadelphia and the March 10 game against Montreal will be 1 p.m. opening faceoffs.

Please click below for the full Lightning schedule.

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Lightning reportedly find their veteran backup goaltender


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 19, 2017


The search for a veteran backup goaltender behind Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t take the Lightning very long.

All they had to do was look down one locker stall over from Vasilevskiy, which was occupied by Peter Budaj.

Budaj, acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in Februar as part of the deal that sent Ben Bishop to the Kings, has agreed to a new two-year contract that carries a salary cap hit of $1.025 million per season. The deal was first reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

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Tampa Bay Lightning expansion draft protected list offered only one surprise


By Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 18, 2017


Now the anticipation builds.

All 30 NHL teams have submitted their list of players they have protected for the expansion draft. Vegas general manager George McPhee and his staff have the opportunity to pour over the list of available players and go about the task of wheeling, dealing and assembling an initial 30-man roster from the available players.

Let the scrutiny, exasperated moments, shocked responses and numerous mock drafts (including one I'll participate in with The Scrum Sports guys) begin before it’s all revealed Wednesday night during the NHL Awards show on NBCSN.

Click below to see Tampa Bay’s list of protected players.

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Tampa to hosts 2018 NHL All-Star Game in January

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
May 29, 2017


The Stars of winter will fly south to Tampa.

The NHL officially announced that 2018 All-Star weekend will be held at on Jan. 27-28 at Amalie Arena. The skills competition will be held on the 27th while the All-Star Game, a 3-on-3 tournament format, will take place the afternoon on Jan. 28.

This will be the second time Tampa will serve as host for the NHL All-Star Weekend; the first was in 1999.

The news was first reported two weeks ago but was made official by the league on Monday just prior to puck drop of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

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Stars and Stripes prominent behind Stanley Cup Final benches

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
May 28, 2017


Stars and Stripes will be front and center standing behind the benches when the Stanley Cup Final begins in Pittsburgh on Monday.

In a sport dominated by Canadian coaches through the history of the game, American-born head coaches have been a rarity. It’s even more rare for one to have been the head coach of a Stanley Cup winning team.

Two American coaches facing off against each other in a Stanley Cup Final? Never happened.

Until now.

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Tampa reportedly set to host the 2018 NHL All-Star game

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
May 16, 2017


Tampa, Fla. – Tampa might soon be a popular spot for some All-Star gazing.

Amalie Arena is expected to be named as the host for NHL All-Star Weekend, which would be held the weekend of Jan. 27-28, 2018. Tampa last hosted the All-Star game in 1999.

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Conference finals - preview and predictions

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
May 12, 2017


Halfway home.

That’s where the NHL playoffs sit. Just over a month in to the second season, the number of teams have been whittled down from 16 to four as we reach the conference finals stage of the postseason.

The second round featured a few surprises, an unexpected expected result and one team exorcising recent demons at a time when many figured they would succumb to them once again.

And the second provided something the first round failed to – a winner-take-all Game 7, two of them in fact. In addition, all four series in round two went at least six games.

Now that it’s down to the final frozen four – Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa and Anaheim vs. Nashville – here’s a preview and prediction for the Eastern and Western conference finals.

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"It's terrifying'' to play waiting game as USA Womens' Olympic team to be selected Friday

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
May 4, 2017


Wesley Chapel, Fla. – After four days of intense competition at Olympic selection camp, the waiting game is the only one left to be played.

Since Monday, 42 players have been a part of Team USA’s camp at Florida Hospital Center Ice vying for the right to be among the group of 23 players that will represent the United States in February at the 2018 Games in South Korea.

The final step in that process comes on Friday when the players selected will be revealed during a live broadcast on NHL Network at 1 p.m. EDT during an event at Amalie Arena in Tampa.

Waiting for the call to determine whether or not you have been selected to the team is a nerve-wracking experience no matter how experienced the player.

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Honoring the one-year anniversary of a significant death

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
May 3, 2017


Today is the anniversary of my death.

It’s not in the literal sense, of course, as my fingers are still on a keyboard frantically typing away on a daily basis.

But May 3 will forever be remembered around this area as the day a Tampa institution was executed. For more than 120 years, The Tampa Tribune was an honored member of the community. It was invited in to homes, offices and places of employment. It served as a breakfast ritual or a lunchtime companion. The news that lined the pages wasn’t always pleasant to read, wasn’t always something everybody agreed with. Often times it entertained or offered a heartfelt human interest piece that would strike a chord within a community that rallied around somebody who might have fallen on hard times.

Other times the paper was a source of entertainment, whether it was seeking the latest antics of The Family Circus or seeing how big Dagwood would build his sandwich this time. There were crossword puzzles, word jumbles and Sudoku.

The sports pages were often that balance between being informed and being entertained in the section of the paper often pulled first by many after a quick grazing over the front page, which generally meant looking at what was above the fold before flipping back to the “C’’ section.

Every day, it was there. In the driveway. At the convenience store. In the doctor’s office. Sitting in the rack, waiting to be consumed.

That was all put to an end on May 3, 2016, the day the community lost all that. It was the day a part of me died.

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Path on "Gold or Bust'' for USA Women's Olympic team journey starts in Tampa

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
May 1, 2017


Wesley Chapel, Fla. – Sun, sand and surf. All the ingredients needed for a large group visiting Florida.

Just as summer temperatures are starting to heat up the mercury around town, 42 hopefuls for the USA Women’s Olympic Hockey team have hit the ice this week at Florida Hospital Center Ice for the selection camp that will determine the group of players that will represent the United States in 10 months in South Korea.

Holding the camp in Florida presents a vastly different backdrop for the players, who are used to being surrounded by snow and ice when the teams gather for these type of camps.

”To have a hockey camp in warm weather like this is exciting,’’ two-time Olympian Kacey Bellamy said. “We are always stuck in New England or Minnesota in the snow. So I think this is good for us mentally and physically getting outside in the sun and just a different atmosphere.’’

While there will be some down time to enjoy the Florida outdoors, make no mistake, this camp is all business for the 42 women vying to be named to the final 23-woman Olympic roster that will be looking to bring home the first Gold Medal for the U.S. in women’s hockey since 1998 and ending a run of Olympic disappointment.

”This time through, it’s gold or bust,’’ forward Hillary Knight said.

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NHL Draft Lottery to be held on Saturday

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
April 28, 2017


From NHL press release.

The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, which will determine the order of selection for the first 15 picks in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft, will be held on Saturday, April 29, in Toronto. The results of the NHL Draft Lottery will be announced shortly after 8 p.m. ET, during live coverage of the event on NBC.

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Conference semifinals previews and predictions

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
April 24, 2017


The thrilling first round of the playoffs ended on Sunday night, 12 days after it started.

Along the way there were a record 18 overtime games, plenty of highly entertaining affairs and just as many close games. There were low-scoring games decided by one goal and high-scoring games decided by one goal. There were very few blow outs.

And for the first time since 2001, none of the eight series featured a deciding Game 7.

Some interesting notes about the first round, from Elias Sports Bureau – Twenty-eight of the 42 games were decided by one goal (66.7 percent) while 33 were decided by two goals after an empty-net goal (78.6 percent). … Seventeen of the 42 games saw the winning team overcome a deficit of at least one goal, nine of them were multi-goal comebacks. There were also eight teams that rallied from behind when trailing in the third period.

So now that the first period is behind, the second round gets underway on April 26. Here’s a look ahead to the conference semifinals, including my predictions.

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NHL 2017 playoffs, three things that stand out each night

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
June 8, 2017


The NHL playoffs are like no other in sports. From the atmosphere in the arenas to the anticipation of the opening faceoff there is a certain buzz that builds up throughout the day and into the night. Sometimes deep in to the night.

Every shift is scrutinized, every shot on goal is met with a slight rise up out of the seat in the event that it might end up in the back of the net. As the clock starts to wind down and the games remain close, the nerves become more frittered and heart beats become faster and faster.

So each morning, we’ll recap what went on around the NHL and what stood out with three takeaways from the games that took place.

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NHL Western Conference playoff capsules and predictions

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
April 12, 2017


It's that time of season where previews and predictions and opinions are abundant.

So why should it be any different here at LightningInsider.com?

Just because Tampa Bay did not make the postseason dance - enter sad emoji face here - doesn't mean we can't have a little fun in trying to prognosticate exactly how the playoffs will play out. Plus, it gives you and everybody else the chance to tell me why I'm wrong and how pitiful my bracket might look compared to yours.

So here are my previews and predictions

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NHL Eastern Conference capsules and predictions

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
April 12, 2017


It's that time of season where previews and predictions and opinions are abundant.

So why should it be any different here at LightningInsider.com?

Just because Tampa Bay did not make the postseason dance - enter sad emoji face here - doesn't mean we can't have a little fun in trying to prognosticate exactly how the playoffs will play out. Plus, it gives you and everybody else the chance to tell me why I'm wrong and how pitiful my bracket might look compared to yours.

So here are my previews and predictions

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Want to win a Lightning team signed jersey? Here's how

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
April 11, 2017


All subscribers to LightningInsider.com are eligible to win an exclusive Tampa Bay Lightning team signed jersey by participating in the NHL Bracket Challenge league set up for the contest.

Here's what you have to do in order to win this jersey.

First you must be a subscriber to this website. If not, sign up here

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The final week of the season for the Lightning: Who are they chasing and what are they facing?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
April 3, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. - The focus now shifts for fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While getting little to no help from any other teams around the league, the chances of the Lightning reaching the postseason this year has diminished. Even on a night in which Tampa Bay won, defeating Dallas 6-3, the chances of Tampa Bay reaching the postseason actually dropped, albeit less than half-of-a-percent.

So as Boston and Toronto, the two teams Tampa Bay has been chasing for the better part of the past month, continue to win games, how are the Lightning supposed to make up ground in the standings?

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Photo gallery: Lightning vs Blackhawks

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 27, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. - Courtesy of Getty Images, here is a brief photo gallery of photos from Tampa Bay's 5-4 overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.

The victory keeps Tampa Bay in the playoff picture (pun intended) as the Lightning moved to within one point of the Boston Bruins for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Please click "Read More'' for access (no paywall restrictions)

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Why Lightning fans are big Predators fans this week, and how Detroit's unusual schedule favors Tampa Bay

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 26, 2017


Welcome to the final two weeks of the NHL season. It’s not make-or-break time for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but what happens this week will go a long way toward determining whether or not the Lightning will still have a chance leading in to the final week.

And there are some things to keep an eye on that will have an impact and could work in Tampa Bay’s favor, including why Lightning fans need to be big Nashville Predator fans this week.

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Trying to making some sense of the Slater Koekkoek recall situation

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 24, 2017


The sight of seeing another Lightning player have to be helped off the ice during a game is becoming somewhat of a numbing experience for Tampa Bay and its fans.

But that doesn’t mean the impact is not felt.

Tampa Bay will be without defenseman Jason Garrison for the foreseeable future after he left Thursday’s game in Boston with an apparent injury to his right leg/ankle area. Garrison needed help off the ice and back to the locker room, unable to put any weight on the right leg.

Ahead of tonight’s game at Detroit (Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM, tblpowerplay.com) Tampa Bay has called up defenseman Slater Koekkoek from the Syracuse Crunch on an emergency basis. Koekkoek is expected to be in the lineup tonight against the Red Wings.

But there has been plenty of confusion as to exactly how the Lightning, which are out of regular recalls, were able to call Koekkoek up. I’ll try to explain it as best as I can.

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Lightning honor 100-year-old World War II survivor as 36th Community Hero

Staff report | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 20, 2017



The Tampa Bay Lightning honored 100-year-old Bill Monfort as the 36th Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight’s game versus the Arizona Coyotes. Monfort, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Angels Unaware.

Monfort and his wife, Bessie, gave birth to their first child Rossie in 1959. Rossie weighed only two pounds and her prognosis was so poor that the hospital did not even record her footprints. Miraculously, Rossie lived, and as she grew, the Monfort’s realized she was developmentally disabled. When keeping Rossie safe became difficult, the Monfort’s placed her in the nearest state institution, a place called Sunland in Fort Myers. After attempting to seek alternative options in the area, Monfort decided to start his own charity.

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Rested and refreshed, Lightning ready for final stretch to keep playoff hopes alive

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 20, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – When the Lightning last left the ice at Amalie Arena on Saturday, the team looked beaten and worn down.

After finishing off a stretch of six games in 10 days while enduring late-night travel delays getting out of Ottawa. With a patchwork lineup, the Lightning pushed hard until the end of the stretch.

But with 11 games left on the schedule and Tampa Bay chasing a playoff spot, even getting two days off between games can be a welcomed relief.

And that’s what the previous two days did for the Lightning as they head in to must-win game against Arizona on Tuesday looking refreshed and rested, not to mention a little healthier, as they reset to mindset.

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Breaking down the schedule: Who has the easier path to the final playoff spot?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 20, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Buckle up, the final 21 days of the season are going to be a bumpy, emotional ride.

With three teams – Tampa Bay, Toronto and New York Islanders updated also to include Boston- within two points of each for the final wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference standings, there will be plenty of scoreboard watching taking place – at least from the fans.

”To be honest, you are going to drive yourself crazy if you keep going to the standings and check how did Toronto do, how did the Islanders do, on and on and on,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “The bottom line is you have to come to work and pull points out of games because if we don't get any points out of games there is no sense in looking at the standings.’’

Well, we know Cooper may not be keeping close tabs on the standings, but there will be plenty of other eyes keeping an eye on them. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the upcoming schedule for each of the three teams vying for the final spot and see who has the easier path to the final postseason berth.

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The Lightning will host the third annual Bolts Family Carnival on Sunday

Staff report | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 18, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – The third annual Bolts Family Carnival will be held at Amalie Arena on Sunday.

This is a great family event in which all the proceeds go to benefit the Lightning Foundation and will be dispersed to different charitable organizations around the Bay Area.

There is no better way for fans to get up close and personal with some of their favorite Lightning personalities.

Want to play video games against J.T. Brown? Or how about Bubble Boy Hockey against Tyler Johnson? Ping-pong against Ryan Callahan? These are just some of the examples of what you can do during the event.

There are also select autograph sessions, mystery bag purchases, locker room tours and, of course, carnival style games to play.

Click below for full details and how to buy tickets to this limited event.

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Palat joins the list of injured forwards for Tampa Bay Lightning

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 17, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – As the Lightning began practice Friday afternoon, Ondrej Palat slowly made his way toward the player’s parking lot, limping his way out of Amalie Arena.

In a long laundry list of injuries incurred by the Lightning recently, Palat looks to be the next man down for Tampa Bay.

Already without centers Tyler Johnson, Vladislav Namestnikov and Cedric Paquette, Palat’s status is questionable as the team is expected to announce the recall of Joel Vermin from Syracuse of the American Hockey League before Saturday’s game against Washington (7 p.m. EDT, Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM and tblpowerplay.com

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A bit of lineup intrigue following Lightning morning skate

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 11, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Some sense of intrigue around Amalie Arena this morning.

First, the Florida Panthers were nowhere around the rink after they experienced travel issues trying to get to Tampa following last night’s game at BB&T Center against the Minnesota Wild. So the Panthers left Ft. Lauderdale this morning at 10:30 and did not come to the rink, which means there was no lineup updates for the Panthers, who gave up seven goals (two empty net goals) against the Wild with James Reimer in net. With Roberto Luongo out, Reto Berra is the backup goaltender.

But what about the Lightning lineup? Could Steven Stamkos actually play?

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Looking at scenarios - including Stamkos - with injuries to three Lightning centers

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 10, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Have to admit, watching the Lightning game against Minnesota on Thursday and seeing three players go down with injury who all play the same position and suffer similar style injures feels unprecedented.

In the span of five minutes of the second period, Vladislav Namestnikov and Tyler Johnson had to be helped off the ice after suffering injuries of some capacity to their left leg and neither was able to put any weight on the leg as they were taken to the trainer’s room.

Then in the third period, Cedric Paquette tackled Nino Niederreiter – who delivered the hit on Johnson earlier - from behind and as the two fell backwards, Paquette had his left leg get caught under him forcing it to twist on the way to the ice.

While head coach Jon Cooper did not paint a positive picture for recovery, though Johnson was seen by others walking out of the arena under his own power without any aid.

So while the prognosis on any of the players won’t be known until Friday at the earliest, there are a few options Tampa Bay has to fill the role of all three players, assuming all are out for the long term.

And how does Steven Stamkos factor in to all of these scenarios?

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USF Ice Bulls play for the love of the game, no matter the cost

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 8, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – For the love of the game.

Club college hockey players pay to play. No athletic scholarships are offered by the school. Ice time has to be purchased, equipment is not provided and travel fees come out of pocket.

Late night practices are the norm, sometimes up to 45 minutes away, which used to be the case for the USF Hockey club team, which has been around since 1989 and competes in the American Collegiate Hockey Association at the Division III level.

There are no NHL scouts knocking down doors with contract offers in hand.

Yet, they play, because they love the game. In many ways, the game loves them back.

While that passion fuels play on the ice, it’s not enough to fully fuel USF’s trip to the ACHA National Championship, which takes place in Columbus, Ohio, from March 14-18. USF opens play on Tuesday at 7:45 p.m. against Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.) in Pool C, which also includes Farmingdale (N.Y.) State and Colorado State. The winner of the pool advances to the semifinals on March 17 with the championship game scheduled for March 18.

To help pay for the trip, USF Hockey has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to cover the cost of the trip to Columbus, with each player seeking to raise $750 to cover expenses. Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown, who saw a tweet from Lightning Insider and donated $725 to go toward Terrance Glanton, the lone African-American player on the team.

Brown said he “wanted to support a fellow black hockey player. Hopefully they will raise the total amount trip so they can all take the trip to nationals.’’

But in the end, passion is the driving force, embodied in part by the likes of freshman goaltender Sam Coleman, who thought he left the game behind before being pulled back in.

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Might Budaj make his first Lightning start in Pittsburgh on Friday?

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 2, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – The Lightning’s last trip to Pittsburgh went about as well as a chain smoker trying to run the Boston Marathon.

Tampa Bay was humiliated by the defending Stanley Cup champions by a 6-2 score on Jan. 8. It felt almost as if things had hit rock bottom at the time as the Lighting suffered a fourth-consecutive loss and accomplished something that had never happened in the Jon Cooper era until then, the team allowed five or more goals in four consecutive games.

It came at a time when Ben Bishop was injured and Andrei Vasilevskiy played every single minute of action in the nine games Bishop was out.

So heading back to Steel City (7 p.m., Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM)and in desperate need of points after watching nearly every team around the Lightning in the standings pick up points on Thursday, might head coach Jon Cooper and the staff turn to newly acquired goaltender Peter Budaj to make his first start?

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Tampa Bay Lightning trade deadline updates

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
March 1, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – It's trade deadline day around the NHL and while the Lightning were ahead of the curve, moving Brian Boyle and Ben Bishop earlier in the week, Tampa Bay is actively seeking to make more moves ahead of the 3 p.m. deadline.

Plenty of rumblings involving the Lightning leading up to the deadline with the potential for some surprising names in play on Tampa Bay's end.

Click below to get the run down, and I'll keep the paywall restrictions off this for the time being.

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All quiet on Lightning front - for now; Boyle praises Tampa as he and Bishop make debuts

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 28, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Silence.

That defined the Lightning on Tuesday – at least above the surface.

With the countdown to the trade deadline ticking down, Steve Yzerman – who made plenty of noise the previous two days in trading Ben Bishop to Los Angeles and Brian Boyle to Toronto – did not make a move on Tuesday.

But there was plenty of chatter taking place below the surface that the Lightning are still trying to make moves ahead of Wednesday’s 3 p.m. deadline, with at least one player surfacing as a possible target to move.

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Ben Bishop traded to the Los Angeles Kings in pre-deadline move

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 26, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – The move felt inevitable. By Sunday morning, it seemed imminent.

Ben Bishop is no longer the backbone of the Tampa Bay Lightning success as he goes down as the most successful goaltender in franchise history. Bishop was traded to the Los Angeles Kings along with a 2017 fifth-round pick in exchange for veteran goaltender Peter Budaj, prospect defenseman Erik Cernak a seventh-round pick in 2017 along with a conditional pick in 2017.

Tampa Bay will retain 20-percent of Bishop’s salary for the remainder of the season, according to Pierre LeBrun of TSN/ESPN.

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Speculation swirls as Bishop misses practice and uneasiness of trade deadline reigns

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 26, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – It’s that time of the year.

When a player misses practice, eye brows rise up and speculation swirls.

The NHL trade deadline elicits that sort of response, particularly when that player has been churned through the rumor mill for weeks, if not months. So when Ben Bishop did not emerge from the locker room for the start of practice on Sunday, needless to say, it set off a mini storm of speculation.

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While Lightning sit and stew following loss, team pulls off a minor trade

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 25, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Nothing like sitting on the sidelines waiting for the chance to get back in to action.

For the Lightning, it’s almost like being sat in timeout for three days after falling to the Calgary Flames and being told to face the wall and think about what they just did.

Now, they have to sit around and stew over the 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames before they return to action on Monday against Ottawa. To help pass the time, the Lightning did pull off a minor trade.

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What to watch for as Tampa Bay Lightning host Calgary

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 23, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Not a whole lot going on at the Lightning morning skate today as they get ready to host the Calgary Flames 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM, tblpowerplay.com in the final stretch of eight consecutive games against Western Conference opponents.

Tampa Bay carries a seven-game point streak heading in to the game and, with a victory, have the chance to move to within two points of a playoff spot by the end of the night. Other games that have an impact on the Eastern Conference standings as it relates to Tampa Bay: Toronto hosts the New York Rangers, Islanders at Montreal and Boston at Los Angeles.

The Lightning got some help on Wednesday when Florida, Philadelphia and Boston all lost in regulation.

So here are the three things to watch for tonight as Tampa Bay returns to action including who might we see in net, who might not be able to play and when .

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Callahan shut down indefinitely following second surgery

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 22, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – In an announcement that always felt like it was looming, Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan is out indefinitely following a second procedure on his right hip.

Callahan underwent the procedure on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly. The operation is a follow up to the surgery Callahan underwent in June to repair a torn labrum, which was also performed by Dr. Kelly.

Callahan has not played since Jan. 7 at Philadelphia and is now listed as out in definitely. He has appeared in just 18 games this season as he attempted to return from the injury on three occasions this season.

With Callahan out, the Lightning have the flexibility to gain signifgant salary cap relief a week ahead of the NHL trade deadline.

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Lightning are rested, but have they developed rust over the bye week

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 17, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Gassers. Conditioning drills. Extra skating for allowing goals.

The Lightning returned to practice on Friday following five days off, hoping the extra skating gets the legs loose as they prepare to return to the grinding scheduled of the NHL season that resumes on Saturday in Dallas (8 p.m. EST, Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM).

But finding their legs won’t come easy as the season has already shown that teams emerging from their bye week have struggled in the first game back, posting a 3-9-2 record through Friday, with Los Angeles the latest to falter in its return, allowing two goals in the opening five minutes to Arizona in a 5-3 loss while Carolina lost in overtime at home to Colorado Friday night.

Being off the ice for two days can take a toll on a hockey team. Being off the ice for five days is unprecedented, at least until earlier this season as teams started to go through the process of dealing with the bye week.

Most haven’t dealt with it well.

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Theresa Feaster paving her own path as a hockey pioneer

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 16, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Pioneers pave paths judged primarily by history.

The first few steps down that trail often go unnoticed, even by those carving out the space.

”I’ve just always loved the game and been very fortunate that I’ve been able, so far and I’m still fairly young, to have a job in hockey,’’ Theresa Feaster said. “I’m thankful for that every day. I don’t really think of myself as the pioneer sort, it’s never crossed my mind.’’

While Feaster may not realize it, she is a pioneer. When other women find their niche working in the male dominated world of men’s hockey, they will point to the work Feaster is doing – and has already done – with the Providence College men’s hockey program.

She is blazing a trail others are sure to follow.

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Another top forward lost to injury, Vermin recalled

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 4, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – A season already on the brink of falling off the cliff - if it hasn't already - in due part to major injuries to key players may now have hit another top forward for the the Lightning.

The Lightning are already without captain Steven Stamkos, who is out a minimum of another five-to-six weeks, along with Ryan Callahan, who has had issues in recovering from off-season hip surgery. Now another top-six forward may be on the verge of dealing with an injury that could keep him out of the lineup for an undetermined amount of time.

Left wing Joel Vermin was recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League as Ondrej Palat will be out tonight as Tampa Bay hosts Anaheim on Saturday (7 p.m., Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM and tblpowerplay.com at Amalie Arena.

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Three things to watch for as Tampa Bay Lightning host Ottawa

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 1, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay looks to rebound from a difficult loss in the last game as the get set to host the Ottawa Senators tonight (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM and tblpowerplay.com at Amalie Arena.

Tampa Bay can't afford to suffer any sort of a losing/winless streak as the Lightning start the game sitting in 14th place in the Eastern Conference and has just one win in the past six games (1-3-2) and is without a victory in the past two games, both of then against Atlantic Division teams. Tonight's game against Ottawa ends a stretch of three consecutive games against division team before beginning a run of eight consecutive games against Western Conference opponents.

Here are three things to watch for tonight as the Lightning return to action.

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Reaction to Brad Marchand receiving no supplemental discipline for slew foot to Anton Stralman

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
February 1, 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – No player is more polarizing in the league right now than Boston Bruin All-Star Brad Marchand.

Boston fans love the agitating winger who embraces the role as public enemy No. 1 from opposting team fans. He gets under the skin of opponents with his trash-talking ability and arrogant way he carries himself. But he backs up his play with top line abilities which earned him a spot riding shotgun to Sidney Crosby at the World Cup this summer and an All-Star berth last weekend in Los Angeles.

But then there is the side fans – and many other opposing players and teams – see all too often – the “dirty rat’’ side, as he’s been described by more than one person during his career. It’s that side of him that has him in hot water once again, even if he is not going to receive any further supplemental discipline – his slew foot of Anton Stralman during Tuesday’s game at Amalie Arena.

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What to watch for as Tampa Bay Lightning host Boston Bruins

by Erik Erlendsson | @Erik_Erlendsson | Like us on Facebook
January 31, 2017


BRANDON, Fla. – Tampa Bay returns to the ice following four days off for the All-Star break as the Lightning host the Boston Bruins tonight (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Sun, 970-AM and tblpowerplay.com at Amalie Arena.

Tampa Bay trails the Bruins, who currently occupy the No. 3 spot in the Atlantic Division, by six points with two games in hand. Points are at a premium for both teams with the playoffs chase starting to enter the final stretch run. Both teams want to start the unofficial start of the second half of the season on the right note.

Here are three things to watch for tonight as the Lightning return to action.

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