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Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher calls Dana Tyrell, who has a new contract, "a beast"



Tampa Bay Lightning wing Dana Tyrell said he never doubted the organization’s commitment to hi, even when he was sent down to AHL Norfolk as one of the last cuts out of training camp.

“They definitely stayed positive towards me and kept in touch with myself and my agent. I knew they had plans for me,” Tyrell said. “I knew they were showing a commitment, so it shows their loyalty.”

Tampa Bay showed it on Monday by signing Tyrell, 22, to a two-year, one-way contract that covers the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Financial terms were not immediately available.

“He’s the most in-shape player on our team,” coach Guy Boucher said. “He’s a beast. Pound-for-pound I don’t think I’ve seen anyone that in shape or that strong.”

Quite a turnaround for Tyrell, 5 feet 11, 185 pounds, who began the season with the disappointment of being sent down to Norfolk after spending all last season with the Lightning. But Tyrell was more a victim of circumstance. He did not need waivers to be sent down, and that allowed Tampa Bay to conduct some experiments with Brett Connolly, Blair Jones and Mattias Ritola.

Connolly worked out but Ritola moved on to Sweden rather than take a demotion to Norfolk and Jones was a healthy scratch in 10 of 20 games before he was sent to the Admirals.

“I was concerned at the time,” GM Steve Yzerman said of sending Tyrell to Norfolk. “I didn’t want to set a young player back, and doing something like this, my concern was how was this going to affect him? We asked him to go down and play hard and compete hard and he did exactly that.”  

“It might turn out to be a blessing in disguise,” Tyrell said. “Everything happens for a reason. I was able to go down there and work on my game. Getting recalled last week and getting my contract extended is exciting and it does show Tampa’s commitment to me, so that shows a lot.”

Other stuff from the morning skate: No surprise, Mathieu Garon gets his third consecutive start in net. Garon has stopped 47 of 49 shots in his past two victories. That translates to a 0.98 goals-against average and a .959 save percentage. … Forward Steve Downie will miss his third straight game with an upper body injury. Downie skated today but Boucher said Downie will see a doctor outside the team. “It’s a little issue we can’t take care of ourselves,” Boucher said. “For now, somebody else is going to see him. I mean, it’s not big. It’s just we want to make sure we take care of it before it becomes bigger.” … D Bruno Gervais also is scratched. … Former Lightning defenseman Mike Lundin, who has dealt with back issues, is expected to make his Minnesota debut. … Boucher during the morning skate had a long talk with wing Brett Connolly. Since his benching Nov. 17 against the Penguins because of poor defense, Connolly has shown good improvement, Boucher said. The coach just wanted to make sure Connolly was not trying to self-correct during games. “I just want to make sure he doesn’t change his game,” Boucher said. “I’m asking him to let us correct him on the mistakes he’s going to make, not correct himself before he does them. There’s a big difference between the two. It’s a freedom of action he needs to have. I want him to make errors of commission not omission. Make them because you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.” … With the firings on Monday of Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau and Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice (and with the Panthers this season naming a new coach), Boucher is now the longest-tenured coach in the Southeast Division. “That’s what I hear,” Boucher said. “I’m so experienced now.”

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


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