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Damian Cristodero's NHL nuts and bolts

When it rains, it really, really pours

As the Lightning on Wednesday landed in Raleigh, N.C., for Thursday's game with the Hurricanes, someone, looking at the black clouds over the airport, said, "That's an ominous looking sky." Minutes later, the plane was being rocked by 60 mph winds and flooded by sideways rain so thick it looked like a blizzard. Enough water came through the plane's open front door that a river formed and flowed toward the cockpit. Waiting on the tarmac were buses to take players to the team hotel. "We just didn't want to go out there," D Steve Eminger said. But go they did, many covering their heads with red blankets from the plane. "It was like you jumped into a river," Eminger said. "It was almost to where I could squeeze my suit and ring water out of it." Added Eminger: "I just got that suit dry-cleaned. Now I have to get it dry-cleaned again."

Road trip

For Marty St. Louis and family, the flight from New York's JFK airport to Montreal was supposed to be easy and happy as the Lightning right wing on Jan. 24 headed home to play in the All-Star Game. But when St. Louis' 1-year-old son, Mason, was kept off the plane because he did not have a passport (though he had a birth certificate), it was time for Plan B.

It wasn't quite planes, trains and automobiles, but it was close.

St. Louis, wife Heather, Mason and sons Ryan, 5, and Lucas, 3, first booked a flight to Burlington, Vt., where they were met by St. Louis' dad, Normand, who drove them an hour and 45 minutes to Montreal.

To get back to Tampa, the family drove to Burlington, stayed the night, hopped a plane to Orlando, where they picked up the family truck and drove to Tampa. Why was the truck in Orlando? St. Louis' parents, who had been visiting their son, drove to Orlando to catch a flight back to Montreal and left the truck for him to pick up.

Benefits package

G Karri Ramo has been called up to the Lightning and sent down to AHL Norfolk four times this season. Asked if he is racking up the frequent flier miles, Ramo said he would but, "They keep changing my air carrier."

No embarrassment necessary

Captain Vinny Lecavalier was embarrassed by the ovations from Canadiens fans when he was introduced during All-Star Weekend in Montreal, and the Montreal native, whose name has been linked to the Canadiens in trade rumors, admitted he felt awkward.

But teammate Marty St. Louis, who also grew up in Montreal, said fan reaction was inevitable.

"I wouldn't have expected anything less," he said. "There's been talk about him going there since I remember being here in Tampa. I'm sure that it really hit Vinny emotionally. It can't not to when you get that much respect. I'm just very happy he's wearing a Lightning uniform now that the dust has settled. Hopefully, it will stay that way."

5 questions | C Jeff Halpern

What's the best thing about the Godfather movies? The one-liners.

Your favorite? Fredo, if you can't do something about your wife, we'll find someone who can.

What is the trilogy's central message? Just family. The idea of an immigrant coming over and doing what he can to be successful.

Who is your favorite character? (Robert) De Niro when he plays Vito as a young guy.

Do you like cannolis? Eh, they're okay.

Damian Cristodero's NHL nuts and bolts 01/31/09 [Last modified: Saturday, January 31, 2009 5:35pm]

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