Lundin clears waivers, and other matters
Defenseman Mike Lundin cleared waivers at noon today, meaning he will be assigned to AHL Norfolk. Coach Rick Tocchet spoke about Lundin needing to be more aggressive on the puck. And for those wondering, Lundin's low AHL salary precludes him from having to clear recall waivers if Tampa Bay wants him back.
Center Chris Gratton also reported to the Norfolk, though he is not expected to play until next week while he gets back in game shape. He had been suffering from a lower body injury that was either an ankle or knee problem. Or as Tocchet called it, a "whatever."
Lots of other little newsy things going on as well: Tocchet said center Jeff Halpern (knee) likely will play either Wednesday with Norfolk or Thursday against the Avalanche with the Lightning. Halpern had indicated he would have liked to get a game in with Norfolk. But other saying he is "excited, nervous," to play, he said he will do whatever the team wants him to do. ... Tocchet said if tonight was Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, left wing Ryan Malone (upper body) could play. But with a four-day break between games beginning Sunday, one more night off will help Malone to "lick this injury so when he gets in, he's in for good. We can't have him going in and out of the lineup." ... The Lightning has been rotating defenseman Marek Malik on the point of a struggling power play. Tocchet said he likes Malik's passing ability there, but the power play needs more help than that. It is 0-for-21 in its past five games. ... Center Jussi Jokinen has not scored in 13 games and has just two assists. Jokinen said his role has changed somewhat recently to a more defensive posture. But Tocchet said Jokinen "is one of the guys struggling right now, and to be honest with you, I'm not happy with his play." Tocchet said Jokinen is not hunting pucks and is tentative with the puck in the offensive zone. "We need him to play well," Tocchet said. ... Defenseman Andrej Meszaros, who tonight makes his first visit to Scotiabank Place after three years with the Senators, said it is killing him that he hasn't yet scored a goal. Tocchet said he advised Meszaros to take a little bit off his booming slap shot to help him better hit the net. "Sometimes it doesn't have to be a hard slap shot, just a little wrister," Meszaros said. "I'll just keep trying and shooting. Hopefully, once I get the first one, they'll keep going in." ... Is Meszaros worried about the reception he will get? "I'm trying not to think about it," he said. "It should be an exciting game. I'm looking forward to that."
And it is not as if we really expected it to happen given the Lightning's terrible start, but just to put a capper on the Mats Sundin thing, Sundin's agent J.P. Barry said his client has narrowed his choices to four or five teams, none of which are lower than sixth in either conference. Missed it by that much.