Vrbata, who didn't like press box, is back in
Melrose said Vrbata will be back in the lineup for Tuesday's game with the Thrashers, and Vrbata practiced Monday with center Chris Gratton and Mark Recchi. Anyway, Melrose said he wanted to reward Vrbata for a good practice, and said he hoped Vrbata got something out of watching Saturday's game with the Wild after he was scratched.
"I've got to give Vrbata a chance," Melrose said. "I wanted him to watch a game and, hopefully, it will spur him on. And he had a good practice today, so, hopefully, that will get Vrbata going."
Asked if he got anything out of watching Saturday's game, Vrbata said, "That might help a first- or second-year player. But I don't think you play over 400 games, I don't think you pick up anything from the press box. That's my point of view."
Other news from Monday: Melrose said Mike Smith, who entered Monday third in the league with a .944 save percentage, will make his second consecutive start in goal. ... No word on when the Lightning will sign defenseman Marek Malik, who continues to skate with the team. "He's not in great shape," Melrose said. "He's worked hard three days in a row, and we'll evaluate him tomorrow. But, as of now, he's not in great shape and needs more work. ... Melrose said center Ryan Craig (groin) could be ready for Saturday's game with the Sharks. ... LW David Koci, who played 41 seconds in his Lightning debut Saturday, will be a scratch against the Thrashers, Melrose said. ... Tampa Bay's roster is at 22, one below the limit. A move will have to be made to accommodate both Malik and Craig, who is on injured reserve.
Another note on penalties. Tampa Bay had seven against the Wild. But Melrose seemed more interested in talking about what wasn't called.
"We take too many penalties," he said. "But I also think Minny took more than three. The same things that were called on us could have been called on Minny five or six times, too. Ours were penalties by the letter of the law. But I'm saying there was stuff going on at the other end, too, that I thought were penalties that weren't called."
And, finally, did you like the ad the Lightning worked up for the offer of tickets to the premiere of Saw V in Centro Ybor? It's Vinny's body with a mask of the evil Jigsaw, from the Saw movie series, Photoshopped onto Vinny's face (see above). You buy a lower level ticket to Tuesday's game and you get a free ticket to Thursday's showing of the movie.
(Pictured above: Saw V promotional ad. Courtesy Tampa Bay Lightning.)