Friday, April 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Conacher over shock of trade from Lightning to Senators

TAMPA — How did Cory Conacher learn he was traded from the Lightning to the Senators? A reporter from Canada's Rogers Sportsnet called for a comment.

"That's when I got the shock," Conacher said. "I was like, 'Give me a couple of minutes.' "

Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman called shortly thereafter and apologized for not telling him first he was swapped for G Ben Bishop. Conacher said there are no hard feelings.

"That's how the media is these days. They're quick on things," he said Tuesday. "Tampa is a very loyal and honest organization. I have to thank them for everything they've done for me."

Conacher who has a goal and is plus-3 in three games for Ottawa — he had one shot in 15:46 of ice time against the Lightning — said facing his former teammates for the first time would be "weird."

"You're playing against guys you've built great relationships with, guys you don't want to hurt or hit in a game, but you have to," he added. "I have to finish checks and play the same way."

Conacher, 23, a rookie of the year candidate, entered Tuesday leading all rookies with 15 assists, second with 25 points and third with 10 goals. He was the AHL's most valuable player in 2011-12 when he helped lead Norfolk to the Calder Cup title.

Not bad for a player the Lightning signed as an undrafted free agent.

"This was one of those hockey trades," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper, who had Conacher at Norfolk and Syracuse. "It helped both teams. I don't think there will be a, per se, loser out of that trade. I think it was a win-win, but it hurts, especially guys who you've won with before."

MALONE back: Ryan Malone, who missed eight games with a left shoulder injury, played against the Senators and had a shot, a hit and two blocked shots in 15:43 of ice time.

Malone was injured March 18 when run over by Flyers pest Zac Rinaldo. Malone did not see him coming and Rinaldo was not penalized.

"It's one of those plays where some guys will hit you and some guys won't," Malone said. "He's one of those guys who will hit you. That's what he does."

LINDBACK UPDATE: G Anders Lindback participated in his first morning skate since sustaining a high ankle sprain March 20 at Toronto and said he has no limitations.

"We need to see him," Cooper said. "He's a huge part of our future. People think, 'Well, you traded for Bishop.' To me, it's 1A and 1A, so they need to get in there. They need to talk about the game. That's all from playing."

MORE INJURIES: D Victor Hedman (lower body) likely will be out at least through Thursday's game with the Penguins, Cooper said. … RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie (upper body) played after missing five games.

NEW FACE: D Mark Barberio, called up from Syracuse, played his first NHL game and had one shot, four giveaways and was minus-1 in 14:12 of ice time, 3:55 on the power play.

The promotion seemed a long time coming for Barberio, 23, who had eight goals, 40 points and was plus-7 this season for the Crunch, and last season for AHL Norfolk was named the league's best defenseman.

Barberio, though, said the wait was not difficult because Yzerman and Syracuse GM Julien BriseBois were "straightforward with me from the start. When guys got called up, guys in Syracuse were happy for the guys to get a chance to play. We're always watching the TV, cheering them on."

ODDS AND ENDS: Tampa Bay is 3-for-9 on the power play its past two games after going 0-for-10 in its first two games under Cooper. … The Lightning is on a 5-0-1 streak at home. … The Senators have lost five straight. … Former Lightning captain Rob Zamuner was honored as part of the team's 20th anniversary celebration. … Forwards Dana Tyrell, Ben Pouliot and Tom Pyatt were scratched.

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