Lightning center Nate Thompson has been suspended for two games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head on Devils forward Matt D'Agostini during Friday night's 5-4 shootout win.
The incident occurred midway through the second period. D'Agostini was looking down for the puck just outside the Lightning blue line when Thompson appeared to hit him in the head with his shoulder. According to Rule 48, any hit resulting in contact with an opponent's head, where head is targeted and principal point of contact is not permitted."
D'Agostini fell to the ground, but stayed in the game. There was no penalty called on the play.
Thompson, 28, who had never previously been fined or suspended in a six-year career, said it wasn't his intent to hurt D'Agostini.
"I play the game hard, I play it clean," Thompson said. "It's never your intention to hurt anybody out there. Things happen in this league and things happen fast and sometimes you're in situations where the league has to make a decision. It's unfortunate it has to be two games, but they have a job to do." …
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"I certainly had a whole lot of respect for him and he didn't disappoint me," said former Lightning assistant coach Marty Raymond said. "He was unbelievable for us. He was a great person with really strong values. I feel gut-wrenched."Full Story
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"He's passionate on the bench and during games," said left wing Cory Conacher, who was with Cooper last season in Norfolk as the Admirals won the Calder Cup championship. "We all want to work as hard during games because he's a guy who hates to lose more than he wants to win. I think the guys will realize that as soon as he gets here."Full Story
The Lightning Sunday morning announced it has fired coach Guy Boucher. The final straw, obviously, was Saturday's 5-3 loss at Ottawa in which the team, facing a crucial weekend, showed little urgency in allowing four first-period goals.
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The Lightning and center Nate Thompson have agreed to terms on a four-year, $6.4 million contract extension through 2016-17.
“It was important to get him locked up,” GM Steve Yzerman said. “He’s part of our future.”
Thompson, 28, has six goals, 10 points in 31 games, is a primary penalty killer, has won 50.8 percent of his faceoffs and leads the team with 61 hits.
“To show that confidence Steve has in me is a great feeling,” said Thompson, acquired in January 2010 off waivers from the Islanders. “I love this organization. I love the core group of guys. It’s just a great fit for me and a no-brainer.”
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Junior defenseman Slater Koekkoek, drafted by the Lightning 10th overall in June, was signed to a three-year, entry-level deal. Koekkoek, 19, played 42 games combined this season for Peterborough and Windsor of the junior Ontario league before his second surgery in two years on a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
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Lightning rookie Cory Conacher was a huge Maple Leafs fan growing up, not surprising as he lived in Burlington, Ontario, which is just 25 miles to the south. So, playing tonight against the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre will be a huge moment for the left wing, who said about 100 family and friends will be at the game.
"It's very cool," Conacher said after the morning skate. "It's going to be very exciting and nerve-wracking."Full Story