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Smith will dress tonight as backup



He's moving forward with baby steps but Mike Smith's strained left knee has improved enough that he will be on the bench tonight against the Hurricanes backing up Karri Ramo. That means Marc Denis' time with the club is about to be over.

Other stuff from this morning: Defenseman Shane O'Brien is a healthy scratch tonight for the first time this season. That after he was kept off the ice Friday by coach John Tortorella to, as the coach put it, have his own "private workout.'' Torts wouldn't address anything beyond that and O'Brien today decided it is in his best interests not to say anything. ... With O'Brien out we could get a look at Brad Lukowich, who has been out since mid February because of a sports hernia. Lukowich has been skating with the team. That he could be ready to play is amazing in that he had surgery the third week of February. But the less-invasive procedure he had in Germany that does not cut through as much muscle, is supposed to be quick-healing. ... Center Vinny Lecavalier is the Lightning's nominee for the King Clancy Award for his community service. Lecavalier's foundation has pledged $3-million to help construction of a new wing at St. Pete's All Children's Hospital. He and Kane's Furniture have been a long-time partnership to donate money based on Vinny's goals and assists at home games. But Lecavalier said he isn't looking for awards. "Absolutely not,'' he said. "You're definitely happy if they pick you, but you do it for the community and the kids.'' ... Right wing Marty St. Louis said he hasn't decided if he wants to play for Canada in the Wold Championships. With three kids, including a 2-month-old, he said it will be a "family decision'' with wife Heather to figure out if he will accept an invitation. ... Defenseman Matt Smaby said he knows the Lightning wants him to play a more physical game, and he admitted it's a part of his natural game. "The more comfortable I feel, the more my physical game will come out,'' Smaby said. It looked as if Smaby had made some strides with a five-hit game against the Panthers on Tuesday, but he had none Thursday against the Caps. "I'm a little more comfortable,'' Smaby said. "I wouldn't say anything close to comfortable. Baby steps; I'm going to focus on each game and keep it simple.'' ... Captain Tim Taylor and former captain Dave Andreychuk will be on the plaza stage at the St. Pete Times Forum tonight at 6:45 p.m. to answer fan questions. ... Taylor also will sign autographs for charity at the beginning of the second period in Section 122. ...          

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]


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