Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning captain? Cooper not ready to choose

TAMPA — One of the most intriguing story lines of Lightning camp will be the naming of a team captain, with C Steven Stamkos and RW Marty St. Louis as presumptive prime candidates.

Stamkos said St. Louis, the last remaining member of Tampa Bay's 2004 Stanley Cup team, deserves the honor. "You have to think — from my point of view, anyway — it will go to Marty. We all know what kind of guy Marty is and the leader he is. He's a guy who's been here a long time. He deserves a chance to wear the C."

Coach Jon Cooper wouldn't disclose Wednesday whom he is considering but did say his staff is in "no rush" to decide and might not until a week before the Oct. 3 opener: "It would be unfair and unjust for the new members of our staff to not have a say in how our captain is picked. We have (assistants) George Gwozdecky and Rick Bowness, who haven't been around this team. They need to have input, and everybody needs to get to know each other a little bit."

Said GM Steve Yzerman: "Let the leadership group evolve."

The job opened in June when Vinny Lecavalier, captain since 2008-09, was bought out of his contract and signed with the Flyers. It is easy to see why St. Louis and Stamkos are considered next in line. St. Louis, 38, is the team's all-time points leader and has been a mentor to Stamkos and Lecavalier. Stamkos, 23, is Tampa Bay's best player and should be the face of the franchise for years.

"We'll see where they (coaches) go," St. Louis said. "I'm focusing on getting ready physically, mentally to go through a season."

"No matter who gets it, it's not going to change the way anyone looks at anyone in the room," Stamkos said. "But if I had to put money down, I'd put it on Marty."

NO VINNY: Lecavalier is not at camp for the first time since 1998, when he was drafted No. 1 overall. "I don't think it's going to set in until you start the season," Stamkos said. "You just expect him to walk through the door. At the same time, we have to move on." Said Cooper: "I hope for the two times we play the Flyers he struggles a bit. Other than that, hope he has a heck of a year."

NEW ADDITION: C Mike Angelidis will head to Toronto when wife Lenna calls and says it is time to deliver their first child, a girl, Santana. Angelidis, 28, who spent last season with AHL Syracuse, said he likely will spend three days with his family, which might affect his chance to play in at least one preseason game. "This is my first," he said. "I have to be there."

ODDS AND ENDS: All 62 players reported. … Not cleared to skate are defensemen Mattias Ohlund and Brian Lee, out with knee problems. … G Eric Brassard, who strained his right triceps at last weekend's prospects tournament, is fine. … C Valtteri Filppula, signed as a free agent, said of his new teammates, "It seems like it's going to be a really easy team to come to." … LW Jonathan Drouin, this year's No. 3 overall draft pick, said it's going to be "pretty special" skating in a workout group with St. Louis and Stamkos.

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