Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher says it's always a chore to get his players off the ice
It was a pretty funny sight Friday as the Tampa Bay Lightning practiced at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. Actually, it was a good 10 minutes after practice had ended and coach Guy Boucher was on a landing above the ice gesturing and yelling at his players, who were still skating, shooting and working on faceoffs, to get off the ice. Like a parent with unruly children, Boucher was ignored.
"They love playing the game," Boucher said. "It just shows they have a lot of fun and enthusiasm here or else they would get off (the ice). I've seen that in the past."
Boucher is very generous with his fays off during the season and as the season goes on, morning skates on game days will become less and less frequent. Part of that is to give the players a break from the wear and tear of a season. But Boucher also wants his players eager to come to the rink, and he believes keeping them away from it fuels that eagerness.
On Friday, players seemed eager to hang around. Perhaps that was a hangover from Thursday's much-needed 4-1 win over the Islanders that snapped the team's five-game winning streak.
Whatever the factors involved, Boucher, who while trying to get his players off the ice, waved his arms like a football referee and yelled to his assistants. Finally, assistant coach Marty Raymond ordered the players off the ice.
"I know if I'm not on the ice with a whistle it's going to take another five minutes," Boucher said. "But it's all good. It's positive. It means they are having fun at their job. This can't be just a job. You have to have fun doing your job."
Other practice notes: Boucher would not say, but expect to see Mathieu Garon in net again Saturday against the sabers. But take note, Garon is 1-7-0 against Buffalo with a 3.61 goals-against average and .878 save percentage. ... Center Nate Thompson did not practice. The team said there were no major issues, just "body maintenance." ... Left wing Ryan Shannon shattered a panel of side glass with a slap shot. He then, for a laugh, flexed his right biceps. ... Minor-league defenseman Scott Jackson, who had been rehabbing a surgically repaired knee, cleared waivers and likely will be sent to AHL Norfolk.