More speed, but still not enough, mark Tampa Bay Lightning's third day of camp
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher apparently sat down with his players before Sunday's third day of training camp and told them he wanted more out of them; more speed, more crashing the net. In essence, he told his players, he wanted to see playoff hockey.
The effort certainly was better, Boucher said after the Black beat the White 3-2 in a shootout in front of about 1,000 fans at the Ice Sports Forum. But Boucher also said he was not satisfied.
"We don't have the relentlessness I want yet, but we'll get there," he said after what seemed a most entertaining 40-minute scrimmage.
"I saw some individuals giving me a much better effort. The one thing we focused on, and we talked about it to them, was in front of the net. Practice or games, for me, we're charging the net with whatever we got. I want to see the guys bulldozing the net, whether it's our goalies or the other team's goalies. I want our goalies to be used to that. That's how playoffs are played, and we're going to play playoff hockey from Day 1."
Why is that important?
"I'm a big believer in not just foot speed, but I believe in mind speed," Boucher said. "If we execute faster than the other team, no matter what our system is, usually you're the first one on the puck and you dictate play. If you're always in a thinking mode, you're not reacting to the opponent. That's not what I want. I want us to dictate the pace of the game, and we have the players to do it. Whoever is going to be new on board has to figure that out pretty quick."
But it also was a message for the vets. As center Steven Stamkos said, "It's good. It's better than the pace we've had in previous years. Guys are hungry. We're trying to impress the coaching staff and new management group. Practice are really intense. Guys are going hard right from the get-go. The pace is there. The work ethic is there."
* Goalies Mike Smith and Dan Ellis played well. Smith stopped 20 of 22 shots with Stamkos and Mark Barberio scoring. Ellis stopped 16 of 18 shots with Simon Gagne and Stefano Giliati scoring. Ellis had the save of the day, a left-leg stop of Carter Ashton's one-timer from the side of the net. Smith's stop on Stamkos from in close wasn't too bad either.
* As good as left wing Brett Connolly looked playing with Stamkos and Marty St. Louis (Connolly had a secondary assist on Stamkos' goal) , he had one shift he probably wants back during which he missed a perfect pass from St. Louis in the high slot and committed two turnovers.
* Vinny Lecavalier, obviously taking Boucher's words to heart, planting himself in front of the net, back to the goalie, looking for a tip-in. Honestly, that's not a place we generally see the captain.
* Alex Berry shouldering Mathieu Roy to the boards and the ice in a race for the puck, and getting it, after a huge collision.
* Pavel Kubina's sweet without-panic chip off the boards to a streaking Simon Gagne to clear the defensive zone.
* Tough day for defenseman Vladimir Mihalik who looked slow and whose giveaway to Barberio resulted in a goal.
*Good day for Stamkos and St. Louis, both of whom were roaring around the ice.
* Eric Perrin's shootout goal (the only shootout goal in five tries in which he faked a backhand and went forehand to beat Smith.
* Gagne's first goal as a Lightning, which he said was "good for confidence."
And FYI, Mitch Fadden is being held out with a shoulder injury sustained at the prospects tournament, Boucher said. Radko Gudas, also with an injured shoulder, is about ready to return.