Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher says D Randy Jones is "more likely" a scratch; watch parties
Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher on Tuesday said defenseman Randy Jones, out 16 games with a high ankle sprain, is available to play in Wednesday's Game 1 of the playoffs against the Penguins but is "more likely" a scratch.
If so, that takes one decision away from Boucher, who still has eight other defensemen on the roster. If he goes with 12 forwards and six townswomen, as expected, Boucher will have to sit two other blue-liners. Most vulnerable seems to be Matt Smaby, who did not practice Tuesday because of a lower-body issue, and Marc-Andre Bergeron, who has just one point in his past 16 games and is minus-10.
"It's not that there’s no spot for you. It is somebody is going to take your spot and we’ll see later on," Boucher said of how he explained the situation to his players. "It’s not easy that part. I hate that part. Somebody works hard, deserves to be in the lineup but somebody else deserves it a little bit more."
"It’s a team thing," Boucher added. "Whatever choice is going to be made, whether it’s the right choice or not, that’s the choice I'm going with. So we need everybody on the same page with a positive attitude. The next game, that player might be in."
Jones sounded resigned.
"It's 15 (actually 16) games I've missed," he said. "To go right back into a game, and a playoff game at that, after one, two practices with the team, who knows? But I want to play. I want to get out there. I'm anxious to get back playing again."
WATCH PARTIES: This season the Lightning have teamed up with their official watch party partner, Bud Light, to bring all the action of Lightning playoff hockey to fans, as well as a number of great offers throughout the playoffs including free merchandise to be distributed on-site by the Bud Light Girls. There will also be drink specials on all Anheuser-Busch products at each watch party throughout the postseason.
Bacardi, a valued sponsor of both the Lightning and the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs, will also be on hand during the playoffs and will provide 15,000 Lightning Lemonade souvenir cups to each watch party location for fans to take home as a commemorative keepsake of the team’s 2011 playoff run. The Bacardi Girls will also distribute samples of Lightning Lemonade and giveaway items to all watch party patrons and will be present in front of Shots, located on the west plaza at the St. Pete Times Forum, prior to Lightning home playoff games through the first two rounds.
A complete list of 2011 playoff watch party locations is as follows:
Brick House Tavern + Tap (Official Location) 1102 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. (Tampa)
Champps Americana at International Plaza 2223 N. West Shore Blvd. (Tampa)
The Rack 1809 W. Platt St. (Tampa)
The Press Box 222 S. Dale Mabry Hwy. (Tampa)
Wings Gone Wild 3114 W. Bay to Bay Blvd. (Tampa)
The Rack 1025 W. Brandon Blvd. (Brandon)
Evies 4715 Bee Ridge Rd. (Sarasota)