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Tampa Bay Lightning 2009-10 schedule includes long road trips, games near home

Former Lightning coach John Tortorella leads the Rangers into Tampa on Nov. 27.

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Former Lightning coach John Tortorella leads the Rangers into Tampa on Nov. 27.

The Lightning's 2009-10 schedule has a little bit of everything.

It has long road trips (including a six-gamer in December over three time zones), 12 sets of back-to-back games and many more games closer to home than last season. In fact, Tampa Bay plays outside of the Eastern time zone only seven times and not at all after Dec. 18.

The highlights:

• The season opener is Oct. 3 at Atlanta. The home opener is Oct. 8 against the Devils, part of a stretch in which the Lightning plays seven of its first 11 games at the St. Pete Times Forum.

• The Stanley Cup champion Penguins make their first trip to the Times Forum on Jan. 2. Coach John Tortorella and the Rangers are in on Nov. 27.

• From Nov. 2 through Dec. 21, Tampa Bay plays 17 of 25 games on the road, including a six-game trip to Colorado, Chicago, Nashville, Detroit, St. Louis and Long Island.

• Tampa Bay faces the Senators three times in its first 14 games then not again until April 8.

• The Lightning plays Southeast foes Carolina and Atlanta a combined five times before facing division champ Washington for the first time on Dec. 7.

• The Olympic break is Feb. 15 through March 1.

• The Red Wings do not visit.

• The regular season finishes April 11 at Florida.

YOUNG GUNS CAMP: The week-long event at the Times Forum wrapped up Wednesday with praise for center Alex Killorn, who had two goals in Saturday's scrimmage.

"He just plays the game with his head up," general manager Brian Lawton said. "He fits what I was talking about, guys who are willing to go into traffic areas to make plays. They're not bashful about it."

Forwards Dana Tyrell and Carter Ashton also fit that category, Lawton said, adding defenseman Luke Witkowski and forward Matt Marshall also stood out.

"Any time you can do something to stand out, it's always great for your career," said Killorn, 19, drafted 107th overall in 2007 and set to play his second season at Harvard. "I think I did my part standing out."

MINOR MATTERS: The Lightning will not have an ECHL affiliate and because of financial constraints will supply AHL Norfolk with only 20 players, Lawton said. The rest of the roster will be filled by loaner players from other organizations. Players needing more playing time than available at Norfolk could be loaned to ECHL teams.

ARBITRATION: Defenseman Matt Smaby's hearing is July 28. The sides can negotiate until then. He wants a one-way deal.

ODDS AND ENDS: Lawton still wants a scoring wing to play with center Vinny Lecavalier. But with a payroll approaching $50 million, he hopes the asking price for players such as Alex Tanguay, Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan comes down. … Training camp begins Sept. 12 at the Times Forum. … A prospects camp will be held before training camp. … Sun Sports' Bolts Summer Bash, featuring an interview with center Steven Stamkos, premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Tampa Bay Lightning 2009-10 schedule includes long road trips, games near home 07/15/09 [Last modified: Thursday, July 16, 2009 9:43am]
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