Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Depth at forward means Tampa Bay Lightning has a rotation situation

BOSTON — One consequence of having 14 forwards on the roster is, as Lightning coach Guy Boucher said, "sometimes we'll have good players come out of the lineup."

That happened Saturday against the Bruins, when Blair Jones, who played well in Friday's victory over Carolina, was scratched in favor of Tom Pyatt.

"He did nothing wrong," Boucher said of Jones. "I have to have a rotation here. We don't want to have good players not playing for a long time. Pyatt deserves a game, (Mattias) Ritola eventually, too."

Tampa Bay's roster swelled to 14 forwards when it kept junior-eligible Brett Connolly. With 12 forwards dressing for games, two need to be scratched.

The result: a juggling act for Boucher, especially as the team contemplates whether to send Connolly back to juniors. The right wing can play up to nine games before the clock starts on his three-year, $2.7 million contract.

The upside?

"It's how we're going to get better," Boucher said. "With so much competition, they're going to want to keep their spots."

The downside?

"We're going to have guys who don't deserve to be taken out."

SHIELDED: Jones said he is considering keeping the face shield he wore Friday after a stick blade to his left eyelid opened a seven-stitch cut. "My mother is all over me," he said.

Jones always has played without a shield when called up from the minors, where it is required.

But "maybe someone is trying to tell me something," he said, pointing to between his eyes where an inadvertent stick blade from teammate Mattias Ohlund opened a cut in camp.

LESSONS LEARNED: Connolly, 19, said he learned Friday in his first NHL regular-season game how important positioning is in the defensive zone.

"Stuff happens so fast," he said. "I thought I fit in. It will get better as the games go on."

Boucher is willing to be patient.

"He gets a little bit more leeway than the other guys when he makes mistakes," he said. "To expect a junior kid to come in and learn all that in a couple of weeks would be unrealistic."

TICKET PUSH: The team has sold 11,000 full season tickets, CEO Tod Leiweke said, more than double last season's 5,000. Including partial plans, the total is about 12,000.

"A good boost," Leiweke said.

Still, he said, "We'd actually like that number to be a little higher. Our objective is to sell out every game. We clearly need a couple thousand more."

BENCHED: For the second straight game D Matt Gilroy sat for significant chunks of time and had just 10:31 of ice time.

Boucher said Gilroy, signed as a free agent, is struggling to grasp Tampa Bay's system:

"He's got to figure out how we play, the details, plus he played (Friday) night, too. That's a lot of things that pile on and make it more difficult for him."

ODDS AND ENDS: RW Teddy Purcell played just 11:43 due to illness, Boucher said. … Tampa Bay won just 2 of 11 power-play faceoffs. … The Lightning, including playoffs, is 5-26-3 with six ties in Boston. … D Bruno Gervais also was scratched.

Depth at forward means Tampa Bay Lightning has a rotation situation 10/08/11 [Last modified: Sunday, October 9, 2011 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars


    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half



    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.
  3. Rays journal: Archer has strong outing, with two mistakes

    The Heater

    TORONTO — Two pitches RHP Chris Archer didn't execute are the ones that stood out Thursday as Josh Donaldson hit them out of the park. But the two solo home runs aside, Archer turned in a sterling outing that went atop the pile of good pitching the Rays keep wasting.

    Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) works during the first inning. [Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP]
  4. Tim Tebow continues wowing fans as he wraps up bay area games


    CLEARWATER — Tracey Fritzinger has seen Tim Tebow play baseball a few times this year. The 40-year-old St. Petersburg resident went to two of his games against the Tampa Yankees, along with Joy, her little sister from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow, middle, hangs out in the dugout during Thursday night’s game against the Clearwater Threshers at Spectrum Field, the last of St. Lucie’s eight-day trip to the Tampa Bay area.
  5. Rays vs. Mariners, 7:10 Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Austin Pruitt (50) in the dugout during the ninth inning of the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-3.