Tampa Bay Lightning C Dominic Moore held out of practice, might miss the opener
One day Tampa Bay Lightning center Dominic Moore is supposed to play, the next, well, it's up in the air. The center, with a left groin strain, was held out of Thursday's practice at the St. Pete Times Forum, and coach Guy Boucher said he might hold Moore out of Saturday's opener against the Thrashers as a precaution and with an eye on the future.
Boucher said he has no doubt, zero, that Moore will be ready for Wednesday's game in Montreal, an important game for Moore, who played last season with the Canadiens. But Boucher couldn't make that guarantee if Moore played Saturday.
"So, instead of trying so much for that one game (Saturday) and missing five other ones after that, we might just miss one game now, and get him to play all the other games, so we'll see," Boucher said. "If it was the playoffs Saturday, he is playing. For just right now, is it worth it? we'll see."
Moore said he still is in wait-and-see mode.
"He's smart to think of the big picture," said Moore, who hasn't played since a Sept. 21 preseason game against the Stars. "We'll see how it responds."
Other stuff from Thursday: Left wing Mattias Ritola practiced and acknowledged he has to work on getting more consistent offensively. Boucher said it is likely Ritola will not play Saturday because Ritola hasn't had enough of a chance to absorb the system. "It's not fair to him. It's not fair to the team," the coach said. That said, Boucher added, "He has tremendous skill." ... With the current line configurations, Marty St. Louis, who spent almost his whole career on right wing, will start on left wing (with Steve Downie on the right), and Ryan Malone, a left wing, on the right side (with Simon Gagne on the left). Doesn't matter, said Boucher, who refers to his forwards as F1-F2-F3 rather than wings and centers. "Besides the faceoff it's not going to matter. Just focus on being first on the puck." ... Boucher said he still was undecided whether to play 11 or 12 forwards against Atlanta. ... Center Nate Thompson left practice early. The team called it "preventative." Thompson said he is fine. The last time the team said someone wasn't practicing as a preventative measure, defenseman Mattias Ohlund ended up missing two weeks with a knee injury. ... The players' fishing trip on the Gulf was canceled Wednesday because of high winds. They played paint ball instead. Wing Marty St. Louis and goalie Mike Smith were the most into it apparently, and showed up wearing camouflage.