Calling out one's coach
What was so interesting about Vinny Prospal calling out coach John Tortorella on Sun Sports and on a live St. Pete Times Forum feed after Tuesday's win over the Canadiens, was that it didn't need to happen that way. Say what you want about Torts, that is the kind of stuff players always can bring to him in private, and then it is done with.
Instead, Prospal decided to broadcast his feelings about being moved off Vinny 4's line and his lack of playing time as a second-line center.
In fact, general manager Jay Feaster said today he has no problem with a player using anger as a motivator and he also thought Prospal played perhaps his best overall game as a Lightning in that game against Montreal in which he had two goals (to tie his career-high 25) and a game-high six shots.
Beyond that, though, Feaster said, "As far as I'm concerned, the issue is over.''
Prospal, too, declined to discuss it further. Torts mostly stayed away from it, mostly, but did make a point about separating oneself from the team after what was a terrific win.
"We've had enough distractions,'' he said. "I pick up the paper (Wednesday), did the Tampa Bay Lightning play? It's a team sport and I'm pretty happy with how our team played as a team. Team, that's the operative word.''
All this, of course, plays in front of the backdrop of Prospal's contract situation. He could be an unrestricted free agent after the season which also makes him prime trade bait as the Feb. 26 deadline approaches. It doesn't help Prospal, who is making $1.9-million this season, agent Ritch Winter, and Feaster don't appear to be close on anything resembling a new deal. And while Feaster never comments on player negotiations or trades, he has said he prefers not to let potential UFAs walk away and get nothing for the team in compensation it is clear a player will not be signed.
We'll have to wait and see.
And just FYI, the report by Canada's RDS, which said Dan Boyle's agent has given the Lightning a list of 10 teams for which he would waive his no-trade clause, is false.
Other quick stuff from this morning: Johan Holmqvist starts in net tonight. ... Defenseman Brad Lukowich (groin/abdomen) is still out as is forward Andreas Karlsson (personal reasons). ... Andre Roy, benched after two shifts against Montreal, will play on a fourth line with Mathieu Darche and Jason Ward.