We already know the basic plot of the day after the Lightning's bad loss on Jan. 15 to the Avalanche; the 8 a.m. skate and then the players-only video session that lasted two hours and forced the players to be accountable to each other. We also have heard from coach John Tortorella about how it wasn't done to embarrass the players.
But in a meeting with reporters on Wednesday, Tortorella for the first time gave a few extra details about the players-only session, what was expected and what was accomplished, and why, perhaps, it was the starting point for a three-game winning streak.
Tortorella said it usually takes him three and a half hours to break down a tape and chart scoring chances, turnovers, etc. He said he and associate coach Mike Sullivan do separate breakdowns in separate rooms so as not to influence or argue about what one or the other person sees or evaluates. Tortorella said he did not know how long the players would take with their critique (they watched the entire game). But when the players stayed in the locker room for two hours, he said, "I knew they were doing it right.
"That's what was so great about the process is that I felt they really bought into it,'' Tortorella said. "This isn't the coaches. This is the players holding themselves accountable. That's all part of the process, and I thought they did a terrific job. Everything about it was dead on. They saw themselves doing those things and they were talking about it. I thought it was really a god process.''
The process continued the next day when players and coaches got together and the players explained what they had learned to the coaches. Tortorella said centers Brad Richards and Vinny Lecavalier ran the meeting. Both had remote controls to show the clips and parts of the game desired. Marty St. Louis, the third alternate captain did not attend because his wife, Heather, had their third child the day before.
"The coaches didn't say a word,'' Tortorella said. "Vinny and Richy controlled the meeting. They explained all the clips. They were great. The meeting was fantastic. I thought they did a terrific job. I knew they did it the right way. That was the reason for the process, not to punish them but to make sure they understood how they played the night before.''
Tortorella said the process was part of a larger one to try to instill leadership in the locker room, especially from Lecavalier, St. Louis and Richards.
"The whole process after the Colorado game, them doing the tape by themselves and trying to hold one another accountable in the room together, that's cultivating leadership, and it's needed,'' Tortorella said. "It's their room. It's the players' room.''
As for the three-game winning streak that goes on the line Thursday against the Senators at the St. Pete Times Forum, Tortorella said, "It shows me they still have some fight in them and that's been rekindled here. If we don't have fight, I'll make it miserable around here because that is wrong. You need to fight every day no matter what's going on with your club. You come to the rink every day and you try to get better. That is the effort.''