Sunday, February 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Ondrej Palat happy with new deal, new talent

TAMPA — Lightning forward Ondrej Palat, he of the newly signed five-year, $26.5 million deal, is back home in his native Czech Republic participating in his summer workout routine and eager for the start of training camp.

Seems the Lightning players are not too keen on this long offseason, made possible because they failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time in three years.

"I think guys will be rested," Palat said in a phone interview Wednesday.

And, he added, ready.

"It was an experience for us last year because we came from two good (playoff) runs and we thought we were going to make the playoffs just like that, and it didn't happen," he said. "In the NHL we have to play good from the beginning of the season, and we have to be good all season long."

NEW DEAL: Lightning re-signs Ondrej Palat to five-year, $26.5M deal.

Toward that end, general manager Steve Yzerman has retooled the roster this offseason, trading forward Jonathan Drouin, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, to Montreal for top defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev, then adding forward Chris Kunitz and defenseman Dan Girardi in free agency.

Kunitz, who has won four Stanley Cups (one with Anaheim, three with Pittsburgh), and Girardi, a former Ranger, have played in a combined 283 postseason games. Kunitz, fresh off back-to-back Stanley Cup wins with the Penguins, has played in 161 of them.

"We bring in a puck-moving defenseman. He's a young one. We're going to give him a chance to play," Yzerman said of Sergachev, 19.

As for Kunitz and Girardi, Yzerman added veterans who will make the Lightning a little tougher and a little more experienced.

PLENTY FORMIDABLE: New Lightning forward Chris Kunitz.

"I feel pretty good about the team," Palat said. "I like all the new guys. They're in the league for a while. Great veteran guys, experienced guys. That's what you need to have on your team if you want to win a Cup."

Palat's new deal includes a no-trade clause for the first four years and a partial no-trade clause for the final year. It's not as long as the deal given this month to forward Tyler Johnson (seven years), but it is worth more average money per year ($5.3 million, compared to Johnson's $5 million).

TOUGH COMPETITOR: Expect new Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi to bring 'abrasiveness'.

Both players were restricted free agents who filed for arbitration. Yzerman said both were interested in different contracts in negotiations than began during last season.

Palat said he was never worried about getting a deal done. He knew his agent and the Lightning would reach an agreement before the sides went to arbitration, where players can receive only one-year deals.

"I feel pretty good," Palat said. "I think both sides are happy we have a deal now. I have a clear mind now, and I can focus on playing my game and helping the team win."

Comments
Flashy trades not always the smartest moves

Flashy trades not always the smartest moves

TAMPA — When it comes to the trade deadline, everyone wants the big names. They dream of blockbusters.Lightning fans would love Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson or Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh. Maybe even Rangers wing Rick Nash.But if you ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Dotchin working on ‘inconsistencies’

Dotchin working on ‘inconsistencies’

TAMPA — Lightning D Jake Dotchin was scratched Saturday against the Devils, making it the fifth time in six games that he did not play."Obviously the playing time is down a bit," Dotchin said after the morning skate. "I just got to keep working...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Winter Olympics: Americans had brawn. Russians had more goals.

Winter Olympics: Americans had brawn. Russians had more goals.

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — It was a game for Cold War nostalgia and present-day geopolitical angst, for feisty, post-whistle scraps in the corners and for cheap jokes on Twitter. It was a game drenched in history at the start and simmering with ill fee...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Emphasis on ‘D’ continues at Lightning face Devils

Emphasis on ‘D’ continues at Lightning face Devils

The emphasis was on defense during Friday's practice and today's morning skate as the Lightning look to reduce not only the number of shots on goal allowed but also scoring chances.It allowed 39 in Thursday's win against the Red Wings and 33 in Thurs...
Published: 02/17/18
Lightning falls to Devils

Lightning falls to Devils

TAMPA — The Lightning took enough shots to win Saturday’s game against the Devils. It scored enough goals to win, too. Problem was, the Lightning made enough mistakes to lose."There were a lot of positives," captain Steven Stamkos said, "but they sco...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Winter Olympics: Youth leads U.S. men’s hockey team against Russia on Saturday

Winter Olympics: Youth leads U.S. men’s hockey team against Russia on Saturday

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Ilya Kovalchuk and Pavel Datsyuk were dominating the NHL before Ryan Donato, Troy Terry and Jordan Greenway started playing organized hockey. "I think I dreamed about playing against those guys one day," Donato, 21, said. Dre...
Published: 02/16/18
Updated: 02/17/18
Fans can play games with the Lightning at Bolts Family Carnival

Fans can play games with the Lightning at Bolts Family Carnival

Fans will have a chance to interact with Lightning players, coaches, staff and alumni and challenge them to games at the Bolts Family Carnival Feb. 18 from 1-4 p.m. at Amalie Arena.Games include derby race, wacky water race, high strik...
Published: 02/16/18
Why ‘Everyman’ Brian Boyle connected with Lightning fans

Why ‘Everyman’ Brian Boyle connected with Lightning fans

TAMPA — Artie Boyle was part of the sellout crowd at Amalie Arena for the NHL All-Star Game in late January.And Boyle, 63, stood with the rest of the 19,092 fans that gave his son, Devils forward Brian Boyle, the largest ovation of the wee...
Published: 02/16/18
Brayden Point held out of practice for body maintenance

Brayden Point held out of practice for body maintenance

C Brayden Point did not skate Friday, missing the Lightning's practice with what the team termed a "body maintenance" day.Point, who did not participate in Thursday's morning skate, played in Thursday's 4-1 win against the visiting Red Wings. He took...
Published: 02/16/18
Nikita Kucherov dazzling playmaking on display

Nikita Kucherov dazzling playmaking on display

Everyone at Amalie Arena thought Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov was going to shoot during a late second-period power play Thursday night.And why wouldn't they?Kucherov had a game-high 14 shot attempts (six on goal) against Detroit. He was feeling it....
Published: 02/16/18