TAMPA — The final two games of the Lightning's four-game homestand — and perhaps its upcoming three-game road trip — will go a long way in determining if the team buys or sells at the Feb. 27 trade deadline, GM Steve Yzerman said.
"Depending on how many points we get out of it and we see what else happens around the league, we'll get a better indication," he said Thursday.
The league, Yzerman said, is in a feeling-out pattern as teams wait to see which will make playoff runs (buyers) and which won't (sellers). Eight teams had scouts credentialed for Thursday's game with the Jets, including the Penguins, who reserved seats for pro scout Andre Savard and director of pro scouting Derek Clancy.
There have been plenty of rumors about whom the Lightning might be willing to move, with D Pavel Kubina, LW Ryan Malone and C Dominic Moore most mentioned. Kubina has been linked to the Rangers and Flames, Malone to the Kings (with the speculated return being G Jonathan Bernier) and Moore to the Penguins and Senators.
They have heard the chatter.
"It's always like that in February," said Kubina, who along with Moore is a potential unrestricted free agent. "It's something you can't control. You can't worry about it." Said Malone, "It's just people talking. It's just the way the business is, so I don't think twice about it."
Malone has a no-move clause, Kubina a limited no-trade clause. Both said they have not been approached about a trade.
Then again, Yzerman said he's not sure whether he will be buying or selling. "All we can do," he said, "is be prepared to act one way or another."
CONNOLLY SCRATCHED: After playing a season-low 5:08 Tuesday against the Capitals and saying of himself, "I have to get better (defensively)," it was no surprise that rookie RW Brett Connolly was a healthy scratch against the Jets.
It was his first NHL scratch.
"You never want that to happen, but … that's out of my control," said Connolly, who has four goals and eight points in 38 games but zero points in his past 16. "I have to focus on what I need to do and improve."
Said Yzerman: "It's part of the process of being an NHL player."
QUICK FIX: RW Adam Hall is well ahead of his projected recovery time from a left biceps tendon injury and might see action on the homestand, which has left games Saturday and Tuesday, coach Guy Boucher said. Hall, hurt Jan. 5 against the Senators, has missed 11 games and was supposed to be out two months. But the team's No. 1 penalty killer participated in Thursday's morning skate, though with a red no-contact jersey, and said arm flexibility is the final issue.
MORE MEDICAL: D Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) also skated with a red no-contact jersey. Though Malone (upper body) did not skate, Boucher said both might play during the homestand. … RW Dana Tyrell had surgery Thursday on his right ACL. He is expected to be ready for training camp.
ODDS AND ENDS: The Jets broke a seven-game losing streak at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. … The Lightning's Marty St. Louis extended his points streak to eight games (three goals, 10 assists).