Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Injuries, poor veteran play have Tampa Bay Lightning starting youth movement

TAMPA — With the callup of D Matt Smaby from AHL Norfolk, the Lightning continued a youth movement prompted by injuries but that allows it to tweak some perhaps too comfortable veterans.

"Sometimes you need a little kick, not so much from the coaches but from younger kids," coach Rick Tocchet said. "We need some guys to push people, and these kids are going to do that."

Tampa Bay also has called up forwards Steve Downie, Radek Smolenak and Paul Szczechura, all of whom joined Smaby in Thursday's lineup against Boston.

"The kids (Tuesday at Philadelphia) gave us a lot of energy, and Smaby deserves a chance," Tocchet said. "The ship is leaving, and we're taking the guys who want to play. These guys are our future. We want to see what they've got."

Smaby had a game-high five hits and had two blocks. Downie had two hits and three shots, and Szczechura had three shots.

"What I like about those guys is they don't think of slumps. They don't think of losses right now," Tocchet said. "They're just out there playing, having fun. I'm excited about those kids. They're playing good."

HALPERN'S RETURN: C Jeff Halpern (knee) is cleared for contact and said he might be ready to play Dec. 18 against the Avalanche or Dec. 20 at Atlanta.

"After the next road trip we'll be getting close," he said of the four-game trip Monday through Dec. 13. "Whether it's the next game or the game after, and we have to see how the team is doing. … The coach has to be confident with what I can do."

"We can use him," GM Brian Lawton said. "We love his skill and leadership. But we don't rush players here."

"I want to make sure I'm able to contribute and not be a liability on the ice," Halpern said.

URGENCY WANTED: Evgeny Artyukhin was a healthy scratch for the second time in three games. Tocchet said the right wing has the "physical tools … but we're having a difficult time relaying the message how important is the urgency of the game. I don't know if he paces himself. I haven't quite figured it out. I like the kid, but he's having a tough time with the mental aspect of hockey."

ODDS AND ENDS: C Vinny Lecavalier's franchise-best 340th assist broke a tie with Brad Richards. He had a game-best seven shots and won 16 of 25 faceoffs. … Tampa Bay allowed a short-handed goal for the second straight game. … Prospects G Dustin Tokarski and C Dana Tyrell were invited to Canada's tryout camp for the world junior championship. … D Mike Lundin, C Chris Gratton (knee), LW Gary Roberts (groin), RW Radim Vrbata (groin) and LW Matt Pettinger (knee) also were scratched.

Injuries, poor veteran play have Tampa Bay Lightning starting youth movement 12/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 11:49am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

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

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  2. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  3. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.
  4. RHP Alex Cobb feeling safer as Rays make playoff push

    The Heater

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb (53) throwing in the fourth inning of the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays at LECOM Park in Bradenton, Fla. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017.
  5. HomeTeam 100: Players 61-70

    Footballpreps

    Jefferson wide receiver Dontavius Smith during the game between Jefferson High School and Jesuit High School at Jesuit on Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, in Tampa, Fla.