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After one (good) game, Tampa Bay Lightning sends Mike Lundin back to AHL Norfolk



Well, that was quick. After one game with the Tampa Bay Lightning, defenseman Mike Lundin was sent back to AHL Norfolk.

Guess it is understandable if Mattias Ohlund is recovering from a right ankle injury that has kept him out of four games, and Matt Smaby is recovering from what is believed a cut on a finger of his left hand. When they return, Tampa Bay will be back to eight defensemen, and even that is too many. No sense for him to be sitting on the bench with the Lightning.

Still, you have to feel for Lundin. He was minus-2 in Sunday's victory over the Thrashers but that stat, so deceiving at times, did not accurately show how Lundin played in 13:29 of ice time. His shining moment was the way he skated hard to catch up to Atlanta superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, who was about to have a breakaway. Lundin, from behind, got his stick in good enough position to bother Kovalchuk's shot.

There is definitely something to Lundin's game, and there definitely is something to his character.

Speaking to Lundin before the game in Atlanta was a pleasure. He was completely honest in the assessment of his game and why he deserved to be sent down to AHL Norfolk, even though he played 81 games for Tampa Bay as a rookie. He joked about how his wife called his a pessimist. His head is completely on straight.

Hopefully, we will see him again.

Other thoughts about the four game road trip that, ultimately was successful at 2-1-1 and with five of a possible eight points:

If the team plays with the get-up-and-go it showed against Atlanta, there are good things ahead. The problem with this team has been the inconsistency, good games followed by games in which it seems the team is skating in mud. ... Goaltender Mike Smith went a long way to restoring confidence in his game after going 1-1-1 with a 2.67 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in three games. Before the trip, Smith was 0-5-1 with a 5.38 goals-against average and an .826 save percentage on the road. Coach Rick Tocchet said Smith's best game might have been the 4-3 overtime loss to the Ducks. Why? Because "he didn't let the fourth (goal) in," Tocchet said. "He kept us in the game. That's the mental toughness we're looking for there." ... Marty St. Louis has two goals and seven assists in his past eight games, but I bet he is not completely happy with his game. St. Louis was asleep at the switch a bit when Atlanta scored off a faceoff in the third period Sunday, and he's made some bad decisions with the puck in his own end. ... Defenseman Andrej Meszaros gets a big thumbs up. Challenged by the coaching staff in video sessions and by temporarily being taken off the power play, Meszaros has "rounded out" his game, Tocchet said. Meszaros is plus-3 in his past seven games. he has played at least 22 minutes in his past six with 16 shots since being restored to the power play. His next step, getting a point, something he hasn't had in 13 games. ... Tocchet called rookie left wing James Wright a "breath of fresh air." It's a deceiving stat, but Wright is plus-1 on a team outscored 55-63. That's even more significant because his neither he nor his line scores a whole lot. In other words, he plays good, responsible defense. "He dogs the puck," Tocchet said. "He's exactly what this team needs." ... Another player who has impressed lately is right wing Steve Downie. The guy just never stops skating and almost always is first on the puck. he got lucky against Atlanta that he didn't get the worst of the penalty situation when he went after Maxim Afinogenov. But unnoticed until I saw a replay was that Afinogenov deserved a pounding after bashing Downie with an elbow. ... Good for Steven Stamkos. Not only did he score the winner against the Thrashers, but he played one of his best overall games in a while. Better for Stamkos that he admitted after the game how much his game had slipped the last little while and how he was re-dedicated to picking it up. ... The power play has taken a bit of a turn for the better, going 8-for-38 in its past eight games with goals in seven games. ... How depressing has this season been for Smaby? The defenseman, who has not played an NHL game this season, has been on two conditioning assignments to AH Norfolk and has gotten hurt both times. The first time was an upper-body injury. This time it is believed he sustained a cut on a finger of his left hand. Smaby said whatever the injury is, it did not happen during a game. Five minor-league games and two injuries. What a terrible season. ... Right wing Alex Tanguay continues to play better. He is skating very well. Though he still is not at the level Tocchet knows he can achieve. ... Neither is Vinny Lecavalier, who keeps getting points (his 19 are almost one a game), but is not making his presence felt. 

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 12:15am]


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