Looking for offense, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher sits Adam Hall versus the Rangers
The Tampa Bay Lightning needs secondary scoring, coach Guy Boucher said, and with the Rangers and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist on the schedule tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum, Boucher opted to scratch right wing Adam Hall in favor of Ryan Shannon, who was scratched in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to the Red Wings.
"Adam Hall is playing great defensively," Boucher said. "He's a big body and we certainly need big bodies. It's just that we really lack secondary scoring. ... Just choosing somebody more offensive. Just trying to give ourselves a chance to get some secondary scoring. Not that Adam can't, but he's not known to be an offensive player."
That is true and Hall has one goal and two points in 24 games while averaging 11:35 of ice time. But it's not as if Shannon has been burning it up either with one goal and four assists in 17 games while averaging 13:01 of ice time. Shannon, though did score 12 goals last season and his speed is an asset.
And Boucher's broader point is correct. Of the Lightning's 64 goals, 47 have come from Steven Stamkos (16), Vinny Lecavalier (10), Marty St. Louis (7), Teddy Purcell (5), Ryan Malone (5) and Brett Connolly (4).
Still, Hall is a big part of the energy-producing DNA line with center Nate Thompson and Dana Tyrell. He also leads the league among players who have taken more than 100 faceoffs with a 62.7 winning percentage.
Hall took it well, at least when talking to reporters.
"That's what a coach has to do is make tough decisions about lineups and stuff," Hall said. "He likes players who want to go out and want to get better and are looking for ways to improve. ... It's an opportunity to work on some things and get some pucks and work on going to the net and a little conditioning. It's going to be fun pushing the guys and pushing to get back (in the lineup)."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Mathieu Garon gets the start in net. ... Defenseman Bruno Gervais is the other scratch. ... Good stuff from former Lightning coach John Tortorella, who led Tampa Bay to the 2004 Stanley Cup title and now is coaching the Rangers. Asked if coming to Tampa has become just another stop on the schedule, he said in his usual Torts way, "To call it just another stop would be disrespectful to a place I worked for eight years. But I'm certainly not here warm and fuzzy. We're here to win, but I certainly respect the organization and the opportunity I had here. My home is here, so I certainly will never say it's not different coming here." ... Another former Lighting fan favorite, Brad Richards, said of the group that won the Cup, "We thought we'd be here forever. I thought we'd have a few more runs at it. Then the lockout and all the other BS happened. I couldn't imagine being in New York right now. That was the furthest thing from my mind. Especially after I signed my five-year deal, I thought I would be here for a while." ... Richards, with nine goals and 20 points in 22 games "has made big plays and big times," Tortorella said. But he also said Richards has morphed into the mentor that Dave Andreychuk and Tim Taylor was with the younger Lightning players. "Now, Brad is mentoring the Dubinskys and Del Zottos," Tortorella said. "It's a role that I know he wants to be a part of. Sometimes I'm not sure what's more important, what he's doing there or what he's doing on the ice." Said Richards: "I enjoy it, and to be honest with you I think back and use how (Andreychuk) was with me. I think back to how Dave did it and how he used to act around me and I'm very thankful for how he treated us when we were younger."