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Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher calls Blues loss "shameful"; sends pregame message



The Tampa Bay Lightning on game days doesn't usually go through as hard a skate as it did this morning in preparation for its game with the Jets. Coach Guy Boucher isn't usually as vocally critical. But Boucher was trying to send a message about preparedness and focus and trying to put some urgency into his players after Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Blues which Boucher called "shameful."

"We have a chance to redeem ourselves," Boucher said of the game at Winnipeg. "I'm not talking about win or lose here, I'm talking about show up for the game, pay the price like we can."

So, Boucher gave it to his players several times for messing up drills during the morning skate and he put them through battle drills that included a four-on-four session.

"Sometimes you do," center Dominic Moore said when asked if such a grueling practice on a game day was necessary. "There's a variety of things we need to work on, so you have to get your reps in in practice to get those good habits back."

Boucher certainly wanted his players intense. So much so, he portrayed that same energy when later talking to reporters. He didn't browbeat reporters for any dumb questions, but he definitely ewas smoldering under the surface.

"I'm asking my players to be ready and intense and go to war, I’ve got to be ready, intense and be ready to go to war, so I’m sharp in what I do and my attitude," Boucher said. "Everything starts with attitude, and if I’m the leader of this boat, I got to start rowing before they do."

Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Dwayne Roloson gets the start in net. ... No official word, but it seems as if defenseman Victor Hedman, who has missed three games with an upper-body injury, will return. That seemed even more obvious when forward Blair Jones stayed on the ice for extra skating, indicating he will be scratched. ... If all that plays out, Boucher will go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for the first time this season. ... Eleven and seven is his preferred formation, generally because it creates options. On defense, he can sit a defenseman who is playing poorly without forcing the others to pick up all the slack. On offense, he can plug in whomever he wants onto a third or fourth line. "That way," Boucher said, "you're harder to match." ... Left wing Ryan Malone (upper body) will not play tonight, but he skated at the end of the morning skate and said he is coming along. There seems to be a chance Malone might play Thursday against the Penguins. ... Will Sidney Crosby make his return Thursday against the Lightning? The team promises it will give one-day notice before Crosby's return so the media circus can assemble. ... Boucher again was asked about the controversial Flyers game. He said he is done talking about it and that coaches such as Mike Babcock and Ken Hitchcock and former coaches such as Jacques Lemaire, all of whom have spoken in Boucher's defense, have said it all. ... We'll see how long Boucher sticks with the funky lines he used at the morning skate such as center Vinny Lecavalier with wings Teddy Purcell and Tom Pyatt, and center Steven Stamkos with Marty St. Louis and Nate Thompson. Brett Connolly was on a line with Dominic Moore and Adam Hall.

[Last modified: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:28am]


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