The arena lights dimmed and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared through the sound system. A spotlight illuminated the tunnel exit on the home team’s bench. Fans went wild as their team took to the ice and the famed Tesla coils cracked to life amid wild cheers. If it sounds like any number of Lightning home games, you wouldn’t be too far off. It was a bit different, though. This was training camp.
Tampa’s shortened season is just 6 days away and they started things off with a bang. An estimated 5500 fans poured into the Tampa Bay Times Forum and I was privileged enough to be one of them. Festivities kicked off with an autograph session by all attendees of training camp.
Guy Boucher spearheaded his first practice of the year and definitely put the boys through their paces. A few thoughts on the session:
- Benoit Pouliot was lighting it up during the practice drills. He got quite a few past Anders Lindback. Today was my only change to check out a training session, but he is definitely one to keep an eye on.
- Saw a couple patented Steven Stamkos lasers into the back of the net. He may not score 60 this year due to schedule constraints, but he doesn’t seem to have lost a step.
-Team White & Team Blue faced off in a shoot out competition. Pierre-Cedric Labrie won it for Team White and sent the other guys off to skate laps. Each player had two shootout opportunities. Marty St. Louis and Victor Hedman were the only ones to score on both attempts.
- Cory Conacher and Mike Angelidis were absolutely hustling. Definitely making an impression with pure effort on their part.
Practice will take place again tomorrow evening in Estero. Things are happening!