After a short morning skate today, the Lightning are excited and ready to start their season off against the Atlanta Thrashers.
In last week's preseason exhibition game, the Lightning were forced to overcome nerves in the first period, as it took them some time to gain control and create momentum. Head coach Guy Boucher spoke briefly this morning about handling nerves in tonight's game.
"I know we're gonna be better at controlling our nerves, but talk about how it's gonna to be and stepping on the ice is always two things. It's gonna be a packed house, it's gonna be exciting for everybody, and the danger is overexcitement. When you get overexcitement the danger is to play the game before it's played, emotionally so then you're good for the first ten or fifteen minutes or the first period, then you've go no juice for the rest of the game. We want to make sure that we stay steady and keep our emotions in check for the first ten minutes. We want to come out hard, but there's a way to do it without draining yourself emotionally and we want to do that."
And after a week of practice between the preseason finale and tonight's home opener, everyone seems ready to get on the ice and start the season off right.
Thoughts from Bergenheim, Lundin, Stamkos, and former Lightning forward Fredrik Modin after the jump.
For specifics about tonight's game, check out John's preview.
"Personally I'm really excited. I know we as a team are really excited to get the season going. I think during this three weeks of training camp I think we feel we are ready. It's a new system and everything we're only going to get better at it. But we feel we're at a good situation right now that we got it and we just want to play right now."
"Definitely ready for it to start. Very excited. Long off season, lots of training camp, just ready to get going. Everything seems to be for the better and we seem like a team who's hungry and prepared to have a good season."
"First game of the year, everyone wants to do well. There's going to be some nerves, but hopefully, [after] some of those preseason games, the coach talked about treating those games like real games. So really it's like our fifth, sixth game tonight."
"Yeah, very excited. First game of the year, in front of the home fans. It's going to be an exciting time, we just have to go out and have some fun."
"There's a lot of buzz, a lot of excitement about our team this past off season. There's been a lot of support from the fan support over at training camp, our one exhibition game. I know there's going to be a lot of fans out there tonight, we want to put on a good show for them."
Another familiar face at the St. Pete Times forum today is Thrasher Fredrik Modin. Today marks his first time back in Tampa since he was traded from Tampa Bay in 2006:
"The past few years have been frustrating, a lot of injuries. Right now no complaints. I'm just taking it a day at a time here and right now things feel good."
"It's just a lot of fun to come back. Tampa's always going to be a special place for me and my family. It was home to us for seven years."