Whether they had seen the hit Lightning prospect Adam Erne put on fellow prospect Jonathan Drouin in a Friday night game -- Drouin might have sustained a concussion from the from-behind hit -- Tampa Bay players say there is no responsibility to hold up on any hit against any opponent (even if they are in the same organization).
The only responsibility is to to play clean.
"It's a game," Lightning left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie said. "Once the game starts you have no friends. You have to finish your hit. You don't slow down. But if it's an illegal hit, you can't do that."
Erne, who plays for Quebec of the junior Quebec league, wasn't apologetic after the game, saying he believed Drouin, who plays for Halifax, dove.
"He wasn't far from the boards and I pushed him pretty hard," said Erne, who received a game misconduct for the hit. I thought it was a dive and I thought everybody else did, too. I wouldn't even have gotten a penalty if he didn't dive into the boards." …Full Story
The Lightning's organizational goaltending depth underwent a significant shakeup this week with the promotion of Kristers Gudlevskis to AHL Syracuse. The 124th overall pick of last summer's draft, had been playing for ECHL Florida.
That means the Crunch currently has three goaltenders: Gudlevskis, Cedrick Desjardins and Riku Helenius, who is the odd man out. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman even said the move will affect Helenius' practice and game time.
But Tampa Bay has been so impressed by Gudlevskis, 21, that it felt it had to make the move, even though it is creating, in the short term at least, an uncomfortable situation at Syracuse.
"We are very impressed with his maturity, his work ethic, his athleticism," Yzerman said. "We like his attitude. We're encouraged by it. He's a good prospect."
Gudlevskis was 7-4-0 in 11 games for the Everblades with a 1.83 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. In four games with Syracuse he is 4-0-0 with a 1.92 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Asked if he is targeting a specific date for a return, Steven Stamkos, pictured during a news conference last month, on Wednesday would not say.
Is Lightning star Steven Stamkos targeting a Feb. 6 return from the broken right tibia he sustained Nov. 11 at Boston? That was the report this week from Darren Dreger of Canada's TSN.
Asked if he is targeting a specific date for a return, Stamkos on Wednesday would not say but offered this: "It’s impossible to tell, really. I mentioned in my press conference I’d love to come back and play a couple games and be able to play in the Olympics. That’s my goal. You have to have a goal and you work towards your goal."
If Stamkos does return by Feb. 6, he could play two games for the Lightning before the Olympic break. On playing for Canada at the Sochi Olympics, he said it won't happen "unless I am 100 percent."
Stamkos, in sneakers and standing on a piece of wood for traction, shot pucks on the Tampa Bay Times Forum ice on Wednesday.
"I just wanted to get a fee for the stick. I miss it after a while," he said, and added, "I feel good considering what's happened and the timeframe it's been. It' encouraging."
Here is more from Stamkos: …Full Story
Ryan Malone, who was hit with a puck Nov. 22 at Anaheim, has a non displaced ankle fracture and is expected out three to four weeks.
Lightning coach Jon Cooper hinted Tuesday morning that left wing Ryan Malone might be out a while, but gave no specifics. It was up to general manager Steve Yzerman to deliver the bad news:
Malone, who was hit with a puck Nov. 22 at Anaheim, has a non displaced ankle fracture and is expected out three to four weeks.
There just seems to be no respite from injury news for Tampa Bay, which has six players out with injuries: Malone, defensemen Brian Lee (knee) and Radko Gudas (upper body), and forwards Malone, Steven Stamkos (broken right leg), Tom Pyatt (collarbone) and Pierre-Cedric Labrie (left arm/elbow).
Labrie participated in Tuesday's morning skate, though with a red no-contact jersey. Labrie will miss his third straight game tonight against the Blue Jackets with a left arm/elbow issue. He is on the mend, though, as Cooper said Labrie shot the puck well, and Labrie said his best-case scenario has him ready to go by Saturday's game with the Jets. There also is a chance Gudas could be ready by the weekend. …Full Story
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop left the ice prematurely during the morning skate after being hit in the hand with a shot. Coach Jon Cooper said he believed Bishop is okay, and Bishop on his way out of the building said he same.
Anders Lindback was supposed to get the start tonight against the Flyers anyway, Cooper said, no no plans had to be changed.
The injury is the latest in a plague of them that lately has hit Tampa Bay. Six off the roster are currently hurt, and left wing Ryan Malone (foot) was put on injured reserve with what is believed to be a chipped bone in his foot, sustained blocking a shot Friday against the Ducks.
If you inlcude defensemen Mattias Ohlund and Brian Lee, Tampa Bay's injured list is up to eight, though defenseman Keith Aulie apparently is available to play. The others are:
Defenseman Radko Gudas (upper body) and forwards Steven Stamkos (leg), Tom Pyatt (collarbone) and Pierre-Cedric Labrie (arm).
At least Cooper is able to keep his sense of humor.
"Stammer gets hurt back-checking. Malone gets hurt blocking a shot. All this defense first is taking our guys down. …Full Story
Assuming a recovery window of three to six months for Lightning star center Steven Stamkos, general manager Steve Yzerman said that "barring any unforseen setbacks, I think it's reasonable to say he could be on the earlier side of that."
Yzerman's comments came after Stamkos met with reporters for the first time since he sustained a broken right tibia in a Nov. 11 game at Boston. Stamkos had surgery and had a titanium rod inserted into the bone. Yzerman said he expects Stamkos to play again this season. He just can't say exactly when.
"We're told it is a very broad range of a recovery period, so it's way too early for anybody to say, 'Oh, he'll be back in X amount of weeks,' but we're cautiously optimistic," Yzerman said.
A three-month recovery would create an interesting decision as that would almost exactly coincide with the start of the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. No doubt, Yzerman, the general manager for Team Canda, would love to have Stamkos in the lineup. But Yzerman said he will not rush Stamkos' recovery process. …Full Story
While Brad Richards hasn't been Lightning teammates with Marty St. Louis for five years, the two former linemates remain close friends.
And Richards, the ex-Lightning star and current Rangers forward, said he's "thrilled" it worked out where he'll be at the Tampa Bay Times Forum tonight when St. Louis gets honored for playing his 1,000th game.
"I still talk to him pretty much weekly on the game and things we're doing, whether it's stick length to how the game is played - we still pick each other's brains," Richards said after today's morning skate. "He's helped me a lot, I still look up to him, and love how he competes. He's a good inspiration to me."Full Story
Richards is not surprised about St. Louis' longevity, with the Hart Trophy winner and Stanley Cup champion boasting a legendary work ethic. …
DIRK SHADD | Times
Vinny Lecavalier will be presented with the Community Hero Award at Wednesday's game and will get a video tribute on the Tampa Bay Times Forum scoreboard.
Vinny Lecavalier was in Sunrise on Monday with the Flyers for their game against the Panthers. But the topic of conversation after the morning skate was about returning to Tampa for Wednesday's game with the Lightning, his first game in Tampa since the Lightning bought him out of the final seven years of his contract.
Lecavalier will be presented the Community Hero Award at the game and will get a video tribute on the Tampa Bay Times Forum scoreboard.
Lecavalier has eight goals and 13 points in 18 games for Philadelphia. He and wife Caroline and their three kids have moved to Haddonfield, N.J. But Lecavalier still has his Tampa home, where his parents are living, and said of the area, "It's something special. I'm from Montreal and I love going back there, but Tampa has always been my home. My kids were all born there, my sister's family is there, my parents are there. It definitely feels like home.
Here are some more highlights of what Lecavalier had to say:
On playing in Tampa: "I'm excited to go back and see everything, see my old teammates, my buddies and play hard against them." …Full Story
The biggest news today was Lightning star center Steven Stamkos walking around without crutches or a boot, just two weeks removed from breaking his leg.
Stamkos still is unsure when and if he'll be back this season, but he definitely brought a morale boost - and as Marty St. Louis says "a lot of smiles" - in the dressing room.
With Stamkos out, wing Nikita Kucherov was called up from AHL Syracuse to help provide a much-needed offensive spark.
Kucherov, a 20-year-old Russian, led the Crunch with 13 goals and 24 points in 17 games this season. Coach Jon Cooper said while Kucherov's call-up this early isn't "ideal," the rookie earned his stripes quicker than other guys. And Kucherov will be thrown right into the fire, making his NHL debut tonight against the Rangers on a line with Teddy Purcell and Alex Killorn.
"He's another young gun," Cooper said. "He's one of these guys that has that uncanny ability to put the puck in the net...It's like the Brett Hulls, they know where to go on the ice, and they know what to do with the puck. And there's guys that puck doesn't have eyes for, and there's puck has eyes for, and it has eyes when he has it." …Full Story
With defenseman Radko Gudas (upper body) and left wing Ryan Malone (foot) questionable for Monday's game with the Rangers, the Lightning on Sunday recalled wing Nikita Kucherov and defenseman Dmitry Korobov from AHL Syracuse.
Kucherov leads the Crunch with 13 goals and 24 points in 17 games. Korobov, who played one game for the Lightning last week before he was returned to Syracuse, has six assists and is a team-best plus-7 in 15 games.
Gudas was hurt Friday in a first-period fight with Anaheim's Luca Sbisa. Malone was hurt in the same game blocking a shot.
Here is the announcement from the Lightning:
The Tampa Bay Lightning have recalled forward Nikita Kucherov (KOO-chuhr-awv) and defenseman Dmitry Korobov from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League today, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced. …Full Story
Anaheim Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf, right, watches the puck go in the net past Lightning goalie Ben Bishop to win the game in overtime.
ANAHEIM, Calif. – It was an hour after Friday night’s game at the Honda Center that Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop finally emerged from the trainers’ room.
Bishop had outstanding, making a season-most 41 saves in the finale of Tampa Bay’s four-game, west-coast road trip. Dehydrated, he had cramped up and needed intravenous fluids.
Bishop, drinking from a bottle of orange Pedialyte, said he was fine. What hurt more he said was falling 1-0 to the Ducks on Ryan Getzlaf’s goal with 5.2 seconds left in the extra period.
“That is very, very, very frustrating,” Bishop said. “That’s not what we wanted. We wanted two points. It’s not the way you want to end the road trip.”
Especially the way the goal was scored: on a sequence that began with Victor Hedman’s offensive zone giveaway and ended with Tampa Bay’s Richard Panik knocking the puck into the net off Bishop’s glove in a valiant attempt to divert the puck that was slowly sliding toward the goal line.
“I’m pretty sure I got there before it crossed the goal line,” Panik said. “I tried to shoot it away and it hit (Bishop).”
The Lightning (14-8-1) got a point for the regulation tie, its only point on a 0-3-1 road trip. …Full Story
DIRK SHADD | Times
Brett Connolly, in 10 games since he was called up, had one goal and zero assists and was minus-5 despite, for the most part, playing on the first line.
The Lightning on Friday reassigned Brett Connolly to AHL Syracuse, with Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman saying the No. 6 overall pick of the 2010 NHL draft "is just struggling to find his game."
"He's not getting things accomplished," Yzerman said. "We just feel it's better for him to go back and continue in his development."
With forrward Tom Pyatt (collarbone) almost healthy, no one is expected to be called up from Syracuse.
Connolly, in 10 games since he was called up, had one goal and zero assists and was minus-5 despite, for the most part, playing on the first line. He was demoted to the fourth line for Thursday's 5-1 loss to the Sharks.
"He's still young," Yzerman said of the 21-year-old. "We just have to be patient. He's getting better. His attitude is good. He's a good player. It just takes some time."
Connolly's lack of production is somewhat surprising. With 31 goals he was one of Syracuse's best players last season, and he had an outstanding training camp with four goals that tied Steven Stamkos for the team lead.
Asked about what aspects of his game Connolly needs to improve, Yzerman spoke broadly. …Full Story
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Here’s the thing about the Lightning’s 5-1 loss to the Sharks Thursday night at the SAP Center:
Tampa Bay coaches and players truly believe that if they stick with the blueprint they followed in which they skated hard, competed hard and created scoring chances, they’re going to break out of a losing streak that has reached three games.
“I’m not sitting here saying we should have won,” coach Jon Cooper said. “But sometimes you have to have a game like this to work your way out of it. If we continue to play the way we did (Thursday) moving forward, we’re going to come out of this.”
That said, some things must straightened out.
The Lightning cannot keep falling behind as it has, and it must start converting some of its scoring chances. It actually outshot the Sharks 37-36, and a first-period power play in which Tampa Bay held the puck for almost the entire two minutes produced three shots but ended with the score still 1-0. …Full Story
So, there was Lightning right wing Marty St. Louis on one side of the SAP Center on Thursday, praising his former teammate Dan Boyle, who was sitting in the Sharks locker room after the morning skate talking up St. Louis.
St. Louis and Boyle were teammates on Tampa Bay's 2004 Stanley Cup team. St. Louis recalled how Boyle was such "a big part of our defense." Boyle, asked about St. Louis playing his 1,000th game Tuesday at Los Angeles, said, "He'll be in the Hall of Fame for sure, and he deserves it."
It was quite a mutual admiration society as the players could not say enough good things about each other.
"I respect him so much," Boyle said of St. Louis. "His accomplishments speak for themselves. He's an amazing hockey player. To see what he's doing still is not surprising to me because I know how hard he works. He's just awesome." …Full Story
After two disappointing games to start a four-game, west-coast road trip -- a 6-3 loss to the Coyotes and a 5-2 loss to the Kings -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper shook up his lines during Wednesday practice.
With Tampa Bay being outshot 31-21 by Los Angeles, Cooper clearly is looking for some offensive energy for Thursday's game with the Sharks in San Jose.
Here is how the line shook out in practice:
Teddy Purcell-Valtteri Filppula-Marty St. Louis
Ryan Malone-Alex Killorn-J.T. Brown
Ondrej Palat-Tyler Johnson-Richard Panik
Pierre-Cedric Labrie-Nate Thompson-B.J. Crombeen with Brett Connolly, who had been centering between Killorn and St. Louis, taking turns at wing.
Asked after practice about the lines, Cooper said, "Just trying some different things, getting some different looks. We'll see about (Thursday)."Full Story