Yesterday while most fans of the Washington Capitals were enjoying the teams' second annual Capitals Convention, I had the honor of attending Tampa Bay Lightning's final game of the preseason against Southeast Divisional, and cross-state rival, the Florida Panthers. It was the perfect opportunity to see how both the Bolts and the Cats had prepared during the off season, and scout what lies ahead for DC over the course of the 2010-11 NHL season.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning organization's media relations director Brian Breseman for the courtesy of granting me media access to last night's Lightning/Panthers game. I was treated very well by everyone in the building and I was impressed by how classy the whole organization was, down to the players. All three stars of the game tossed pucks over the glass to kids in the stands after they were announced. I was also treated to an elevator ride with Lightning radio color commentator Phil Esposito, who still has all the passion and energy for the game as he's ever had. After the game, I also had a short conversation with radio play-by-play man Dave Mishkin, who was also very nice and interested in my presence at the game. I enjoyed chatting with the Lightning bloggers (including Raw Charge) between periods in the media room, the game presentation rivaled the Verizon Center's, and it was overall an excellent hockey atmosphere. Everyone in Tampa is excited for the Lightning this season, even I caught myself throwing up my arms when they scored. Hockey is back in South Florida and the Capitals will have to watch out for a re-loaded Lightning team this season.