Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Some quick hits from Lightning camp, Day 1
Posted Sep 12, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Sep 12, 2009 at 03:42 PM
BRANDON - Here are some quick thoughts after spending a few hours out at Day 1 of Lightning training camp today.
First, if you were following me on Twitter this morning, you know that new defenseman Mattias Ohlund did not take part in the on-ice testing today. Ohlund said he’s got a bit of a hip flexor issue he’s been dealing with for a couple of weeks, and though he could have taken part, all the starting and stopping in the tests might have created a problem so it was better that he did not skate. Ohlund said it’s not a big issue at this point and he doesn’t foresee it being anything that keep him out of any further action. He intends on taking part in practice on Sunday.
Also, the team officially signed LW Radek Smolenak to a one-year, two-way contract on Saturday. Had the chance to catch up with Smolenak to ask him how things went during camp over with his Russian team, where he was released from his contract. His first comment on the situation was: “I hated it over there.’‘. That about sums up the whole situation. Basically, he said, the team was looking to bring in another import player (teams are allowed five) and when he heard that, he was more than happy to inform the team that he would be willing to be released. His agent worked on it and Smolenak received his wish. He’s happy to be back and ready to go to work.
Spoke with defenseman Mike Lundin, as well, and it seems like he’s got a good attitude toward his standing here in training camp. He understands where he stands right now on the depth chart, but said he’s coming in with the attitude to work as hard as he has to earn a spot. Lundin also got married over the summer - on July 4 of all dates - to Shelly Seipp. The couple met while at the University of Maine, which is also where the spent a brief honeymoon - the state, not the school.
In our session with free agent acquisition Alex Tanguay, he had a smile as wide as Vinny Prospal after scoring a goal. I have to say, Tanguay looks like he is generally happy to be here and ready to star things up. He had a good line on the possibility of playing alongside Vinny Lecavalier: “I think we can be a good match. He’s a good shooter.’‘
Rick Tocchet didn’t talk much about some of his thoughts in terms of how he might put together combination for any of the preseason games, but you can bank on Tanguay and Lecavalier lining up on the same unit when they get into a game, which will probably come on home ice Friday against Atlanta. Tocchet said he’s mapped out three-quarters of the players who will travel to Dallas on Tuesday for Wednesday’s preseason opener, but wants to see what happens in the next couple of days to see if any of the young guys earn an opportunity to get into some game action.
Tocchet also delivered the wise-crack line of the day when he was asked if there was anybody that stood out for the wrong reasons during the on-ice testing he answered: “I think everybody looks good, looking at the guys with their shirts off, it looks like they all put in their work. I don’t see any fat guys out here . . . except maybe in the media.’’ Zing!!!! (All in good fun, by the way)
There wasn’t a large crowd in the building today, but that’s not totally unexpected, After all, there’s only so much excitement level in watching guys skate sprints and laps without any pucks. Tomorrow, there should be a larger crowd. Practice will begin at 10 a.m. on both sheets of ice as the team will also set up activities and Fan Land around the building and outside (and there will be enough outside in case inclement weather prevents stuff from being outside).
Remember, parking is limited at the Ice Sports Forum so if you don’t arrive early, be prepared to park down the side of Elizabeth Place and walk, so be sure you have an umbrella, just in case.