Even years later for Teddy Purcell, facing the Kings still is 'a little extra motivation'
Lightning right wing Teddy Purcell has nothing but good things to say about his time with the Kings. He called them "a classy organization" and he will always remember that his first NHL game and first NHL goal happened in an LA uniform.
But that doesn't mean Purcell doesn't want to show the Kings what they have missed, even if his trade to the Lightning for Jeff Halpern (Tampa Bay also got a third-round pick) was way back in March 2010.
"It's fun to play against your old buddies," Purcell said after Tuesday's morning skate. "Even though it didn't work out for me there, I have a lot of good memories. It's a real classy organization, so it's going to be exciting."
Purcell, 28, signed by the Kings as a free agent in April 2007, has faced Los Angeles twice while with the Lightning and has an assist. But Purcell is off to a hot start this season with three goals (all on the power play) in the Lightning's first five games.
Purcell has 17, 24 and 11 goals his past three season. The key, he knows is limiting the long spurts he has had in the past when he did not score.
"I'm going to work on my consistency and work hard every night," he said.
"It's great," said Kings center Trevor Lewis, who roomed with Purcell at AHL Manchester. "I've known him for a while. I know how good he can is. It's good to see him get off to a good start. Hopefully, for him, he can keep it going all year."
Purcell and Lewis have remained close. Lewis said they text a couple times a week. Asked if there was anything mildly embarrassing about Purcell, Lewis said his buddy really likes to sleep.
"Lots of sleep," Lewis said, laughing. "He'd sleep till the last possible second we had to leave. I alwyas had to make him a piece of toast or soemthing for him or he wouldn't eat. I felt like I was his father or something."
As for Purcell facing his former team, Lewis added, "I'm sure he wants to show them what they missed."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Ben Bishop, recovered from a lower-body injury sustained Thursday against the Panthers, gets the start tonight against the Kings. ... Coach Jon Cooper said there will be no other lineup changes, so that means defensemen Keith Aulie and Mark Barberio will be scratched for the fifth time in six games. ... Cooper said playing Western Conference teams is like having the opportunity for "free points. If you don't get the points, you're not giving up any points to an Eastern Conference foe. If you win, it's like sneaking an extra cookie. You're only allowed one but you take two. Last year when you were only playing Eastern Conference teams (because of the lockout-shortened schedule) there was no way to gain ground. Once you fell behind you couldn't come back. Here's your points where you gain on people." ... Good attitude from Barberio considering he has played only the opener against the Bruins. "I'm definitely itching to play. That's why you get up in the morning, to play hockey games," he said. "But i understand it's my first year here. I have to bide my time and earn my ice time." Cooper said, "it's not a matter of if" Aulie and Barberio will play, "it's a matter of when." ... Cooper showed a lot of love for defenseman Radko Gudas who has zero points in five games, but has 18 penalty minutes, is plus-1 and is averaging 21:08 of ice time. "He just plays a hard game," Cooper said. "He's hard to play against. he plays hard minutes. He plays against the other team's top lines, and he plays such a physical game. It's really hard not to admire the way he plays." The benefit of playing Gudas as many minutes as he does is it takes some pressure off Sami Salo, 39, and Eric Brewer, 35. "You take the Brewers and the Salos, a lot of those guys with a lot of miles on their legs, and you take them from playing 22, 23 minutes down to 16, 17, 18. You add that up over the course of the year, all of a sudden you have a lot more life in your legs," Cooper said. "Just in the games you can see the life in our D's legs in the third period as opposed to what it used to be, especially for the guys who have been around the league a few years."