Lightning signs Malik
The Lightning on Thursday finally signed defenseman Marik Malik to a one-year deal worth $1.25-million but prorated from the beginning of the season. As GM Brian Lawton said Wednesday, Malik will play in Satruday's game with the Sharks. He will wear No. 22, which was worn by former defenseman Dan Boyle, who, coincidentally, will make his return to the St. Pete Times Forum with San Jose.
"It's been a long time," said Malik, who has skated with the Lightning for about a week. "I can't wait to do something else other than practice."
Malik, 33, a 6-foot-6, 235-pound, 12-year veteran, who spent the past three seasons with the Rangers, practiced Thursday mostly with Janne Niskala. But coach Barry Melrose did not reveal which of the Lightning's defensemen would be scratched.
"The simple game is going to be the best," Malik said of his debut. "And talk on the ice, and help each other out as much as we can."
Right wing Radim Vrbata apparently sustained a groin injury on Wednesday and did not practice Thursday. He said it was "better" but still "a little tight." Melrose said Vrbata will not play Saturday against the Sharks. That means newly acquired Matt Pettinger likely will play, or perhaps even Jason Ward who has been a good soldier while waiting his turn to get in the lineup. ... Forward Ryan Craig also did not practice as Melrose said he had a "setback" in his recovery from a groin injury. "It's a setback," Craig said. "We want to make sure it's not going to be long-term."
This is why we like Melrose:
The coach on winning: “Every cigar tastes like a Cuban after you win. Every cigar tastes like a Honduran after a loss; which is still good, but not quite like a Cuban."
The coach on losing: "One of my jobs is you have to make life hell after a loss. Losing has to be a very hated thing. The players have to feel that way. It can’t be a good place after a loss.”