Kubina yet to give his list of teams; Lecavalier says "mission still the same"
The pads, pants and helmet still remained in Pavel Kubina's locker at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Friday morning, but they likely won't be used again as the Lightning holds the veteran defenseman out in preparation for a potential trade.
Kubina has yet to give Tampa Bay the list of teams he'd be willing to be dealt with, but has a seven-day window to do so. Though center Dominic Moore traded last night to the Sharks for a second-round pick, and Kubina could be next, players say the adversity will bring them closer together. Facing a daunting task, eight points out of the final playoff spot, general manager Steve Yzerman has one eye toward the future. But Lightning players are focusing on the present.
"Our mission is still the same - our goal is to make the playoffs," captain Vinny Lecavalier said. "I know Steve has the same mission, he wants to win now and win for the future. That's his job."
Said forward Nate Thompson: "Steve is doing his job, and we have to do ours. It's within this room. We have to believe in each other, this is what we've got. Like Marty (St. Louis) said, we've got to stick together. We have to continue to do the things that make us successful. Obviously we lost two great players...but that's part of the business and you have to move forward and believe in each other."
Thompson admitted it was a "shock" finding out during warm-ups of last night's game with the Sharks that Moore was traded. But Thompson pointed to how the team responded, showing character in a 6-5 overtime win, says a lot about the fight his team has left in them.
'We have a lot left to play for," defenseman Victor Hedman said. "We just have to keep going like this and keep winning hockey games and come together even more than we did before."
What encourages the Lightning is how they played Thursday night. Coach Guy Boucher said he showed players video before the game from the team's playoff run last year, how relentless they were, driving the net, and "played the faceoff dots instead of making pretty plays on the outside." And that's how they scored a majority of their goals.
"When we do that, the skills come out -not the opposite," Boucher said.
Other stuff from the practice: Boucher said that C Mathieu Garon will start Saturday against the Capitals....Boucher said D Marc-Andre Bergeron is not ready to play, but he isn't expecting to call up another defenseman from AHL Norfolk. "We've got six D right now," Boucher said. "We'll see what our GM plans for the next week." ....
-- JOE SMITH