Remember "Good is the Enemy of Great,'' the words of wisdom posted by coach John Tortorella during the 2003-04 Stanley Cup season? How about "Details of Discipline, Discipline of Details in 2005-06, or last season's "Reteach, Rebuild, Recreate"?
Well, the 2007-08 model has been posted in the Lightning locker room at the Ice Sports Forum. It is as follows: You are what you think you are. You become what you believe you will become. We are a good team. We will become a great team.''
Not as punchy as the ones that came before, but Tortorella said he has a method to his madness. basically, he said he returned to the Good/Great theme from the Cup season. "The two main words are good and great and what you think and what you become,'' Tortorella said. "I think we're back to being a good team. To get to another level and make the playoffs and succeed in the playoffs, you need to be a great team. I think that's where we are as a hockey team right now. We're kind of going back to that saying of '04 but in a different way of putting it. It comes down to what they (the players) think, and that's what it's about.''
SCRIMMAGE: The White team got goals from Chris Gratton on a breakaway and Jason Ward in a 2-1 victory over the Black. White has a victory and two ties. Black has a loss and two ties. No word on a tiebreaker if Black wins today's final scrimmage. It starts at 10 a.m. at the Ice Sports Forum. Vinny Prospal scored for the Black. Brad Richards had an assist for the third straight game and leads both teams with three points. The goaltending continued to be sizzling hot. Marc Denis stopped 9 of 9 shots. Karri Ramo stopped 13 of 14 and Johan Holmqvist 18 of 20. For the three scrimmages, Denis has stopped 35 of 36 shots for a .972 save percentage. Ramo has stopped 45 of 47 for a .957 percentage. Holmqvist has stopped 34 of 38 for an .895. Tortorella said the goaltenders have been the team's best players during the scrimmages. No way to disagree, though defensive coverages were much better Monday than Sunday which led to a lot fewer scoring chances.
KICKING THEIR BUTTS: A brutal day of practice for the boys. Vinny Lecavalier called it the most demanding day "physically'' of camp: a 50-minute scrimmage, a 45-minute practice and gassers that would have made the late Herb Brooks proud. Depending on one's group, a 45-minute off-ice workout was either before or after practice. Player competed in exhausting one-on-one, two-on-two and odd-man puck battles for the final 20 minutes of practice. Then came the gassers. Starting from a goal line, players made round trips to, in order, the opposite goal line, the far blue line, the center line, the near blue line, the center line, the far blue line and, for a big finish, the opposite goal line twice. Fans who stuck around to watch applauded when the players finished. Tortorella said that with preseason games beginning Wednesday, it is time to taper the workload. "We don't want to hurt these guys,'' he said. "we want to continue working on conditioning, but you have to be smart about it too.''
WHO SAID HE COULDN'T SCORE?: How about Eric Perrin getting two goals, including the winner, for the Thrashers in a 3-1 victory over the Blues?
Did you know defenseman Mike Lundin and Tortorella are both University of Maine alums? He said they have not exchanged Black Bear notes. Lundin, the 102nd pick of the 2004 draft, played at Maine from 2003-07. He is at his first professional training camp, and even though he said he is still getting used to the skill level, he is feeling more comfortable every day. He made a nice play on Jan Hlavac as Hlavac came down right wing, pushing him off the puck.
For all the talk about the competition for the final defenseman spot, it looks like Doug Janik will have to really break down not to win the job. He has been steady throughout the scrimmages and, as we've noted, is skating beautifully.
For what it's worth, the first celebrity to get a Lightning jersey is Alice Cooper and the members of Heaven and Hell, which consists of legendary Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice. They played the St. Pete Times Forum on Sept. 14. If you need to read more about this, go to tampabaylightning.com. I would suspect all you need to see is the nice photo.