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Instead of "beating a dead horse," Tampa Bay Lightning has a quiet day at the practice rink

23

March

Saying it was not a time to show his players the video of Tuesday's distressing 5-2 loss to the Islanders and, in effect, "beat a dead horse," Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher kept most of his players off the ice Wednesday, and said he likely would do so again Thursday.

There were meetings and some players worked out in the gym, but it was a quiet day.

"We have players who have given a lot to this team with discipline and who care about not just he team but the organization," Boucher said. "It's our job as a staff to know when it's time to give rest and time to push. There's a time you can't push as much because they can't give as much, and that's what we have to realize as a staff."

No one would have blamed Boucher if he did hold a hard practice. The team just did not look in sync during the loss to the Islanders, and Boucher complained after the game about a loss in structure caused by perhaps pushing too hard to get pressure on goalie Al Montoya. Whatever the cause, it was an unsatisfying evening that left the players and coaches emotional and searching for answers for a 2-5-4 downturn.

Boucher believes one of the answers is giving his players some time off. As he noted the team's last three-game winning streak (Feb. 23-27) came after the downtime during a trip to Naples. And the team's season-best six-game winning streak (Jan. 18-Feb. 1) came after a two-day break between games.

Boucher was especially adamant Steven Stamkos (three goals in 19 games) and Marty St. Louis (zero goals, though six assists in five games) not even show up at the rink on Thursday.

"I don't want to see them before Friday morning because they have given so much, emotionally, physically and mentally. They need more rest than anybody right now," Boucher said.

As Stamkos said, "Sometimes rest is a weapon, especially this time of year."

[Last modified: Friday, April 22, 2011 12:15am]

    

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