Tampa Bay Lightning players schmooze with office staff; Vinny Lecavalier still hurting
Tampa Bay Lightning players on Wednesday did a little team building, but on a larger scale at the direction of coach Guy Boucher. Before practice, they went to the team's offices, unannounced, to meet the staff, shake a few hands and get to know the people who work behind the scenes.
"I just find you ask people to be a family but we don't do things about it," Boucher said on Wednesday. "But I think getting to know people who are working with you, that's the first thing we have to do. People are there, working in cubicles, they're working hard for me and the players, and we don't know who they are. They're very important. I just thought it was good to acknowledge that and and create an atmosphere that's good for everybody."
Boucher actually did this on his own before a game, 10 minutes before warm-up, he said.
"So, it was a ghost town up there," he said. "I just wanted to go back with the players and make sure people they are important, because they are."
Players seemed to like it.
"It was a great idea," defenseman Pavel Kubina said. "Obviously, you don't know everybody up there, and those people they do so much for the team. So, it was a great idea to go talk to them and see what they do. I really liked that."
Wing Marty St. Louis even helped a staff make a call to a prospective ticket buyer. There was no answer, so St. Louis left a message.
"I think," center Nate Thompson said, "they were all taken aback when we walked in."
Lecavalier update: Captain Vinny Lecavalier was on the ice for about 20 minutes with his teammates to test the injured index-finger knuckle on his right hand. Lecavalier, who was not even going half speed on his shots, cut it short when he said the knuckle started to get painful. "There's not much to say," Lecavalier said. "It was getting a little sore and there was no reason to aggravate it. I took a few, kind of, shots. I just wanted to go out there and skate in case tomorrow I get back in." Lecavalier could not predict whether he will play Thursday against the Islanders, but judging by how careful he was when he was shooting, the chances appear slim. Lecavalier said the problem is not the pain, though that is significant, but that he cannot grip his stick well, and the strength in the finger is lessened. Lecavalier said he is icing the joint and doing electrical H-wave stimulation to get the blood to the affected area to help healing. "If it was playoffs, he'd be playing," Boucher said. "Just functionally it's just not acting the way it's supposed to be acting, so we'll see (Thursday)." Lecavalier said he is disappointed. "Yeah, I am, actually," he said. "If it was just hurting, it wouldn't be a problem. I would be out there, but it's not really functioning the right way, and that's what's frustrating."
Ohlund update: Defenseman Mattias Ohlund (knee) skated, though by himself, and is expected to take part in Thursday's morning skate, though Boucher said not to expect Ohlund in a game until at least Wednesday against the Penguins.
Goalies update: No surprise Dan Ellis gets the start in net against New York.