Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet: "Who wants to play games for nothing?"
If nothing else, Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said, Tampa Bay players should be excited about what the rest of this season may hold. With 21 games left, the team is one point out of a playoff spot. Compare that to the previous two seasons, when the team finished last and next to last in the league.
"You should be excited to be here," Tocchet said. "Who wants to play games for nothing? We went through that last year. It (stinks). It's great to be in a situation where every game means something. It brings out the best in you. It's fun to play as a player and it should be fun to coach. I'm excited about that."
More stuff: Tocchet said new assistant coach Jim Johnson will get on the ice for the first time when the entire team is back together after the Olympic break. Whether that means Monday (after all, Ryan Malone may not be back after Sunday's gold-medal game), or Tuesday, when the season resumes against the Flyers, is to be seen. ... Not a stretch to think Mark Parrish will be back from AHL Norfolk. ... Goaltender Mike Smith said watching his girlfriend, Brigitte Acton finish 17th in the Olympic women's slalom (she was the highest-finishing Canadian) was "an experience I'll never forget, for sure." Smith said it was so foggy he didn't even see Acton on the course until the final five gates. Still, when she was tied for 11th after the first run, "The whole place kind of erupted. It was pretty special." ... Defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who played for Sweden, said finishing without a medal was "a major disappointment," but said of his fourth Olympics, "Regardless, it was a fantastic experience. I was disappointed the way we lost, but the whole set-up for a hockey player was unreal." ... Tocchet said he will decide today whether Smith or Antero Niittymaki will start in net against the Flyers. ... Center Zenon Konopka (back) was on the ice for the first time since the team regrouped during the Olympic break. Though it is still uncertain if he will play against the Flyers, he said it is a possibility. ... Defenseman Matt Walker left Sunday's practice early with a lower-body injury that is not believed to be serious. Walker was mad, though, when he left the ice, slamming the door to the bench. ... Defenseman Kurtis Foster, he of the hard and heavy slap shot, broke two panes of glass during practice. He has broken four previously during games.