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)

Lightning happy to be home after Christmas break

TAMPA — With the Lightning taking the next three days off for the NHL's Christmas break, coach Jon Cooper is glad it will resume play at home when it returns Saturday. The Lightning will take on the Blue Jackets at Amalie Arena.

"I've been on both ends having been on the road right before the Christmas break (and) being home before the Christmas break," Cooper said. "Personally I like being at home when you come out of breaks, but the NHL is a little different because the breaks are so short. In juniors and the American League you have much longer breaks, so I think there's a little bit more of an impact. The fact that it's just a three-day break, it doesn't (do) much.

"We play Columbus right after Christmas. … They're rushing to get to Tampa. … We're already here. I like that aspect. We've been on both ends. If you sit here and ask what I like best, it depends on if you win or not. If we win the game, then I like being home before the break."

WISH LIST: GOOD HEALTH FOR CHRISTMAS: The Lightning was on a good roll entering Tuesday's game against the Canucks, having won three of its previous four games. That was despite its injury list continuing to include some of its big players: C Tyler Johnson (upper body), LW Ondrej Palat (lower body), C Brian Boyle (upper body), LW Jonathan Drouin (lower body) and RW J.T. Brown.

As the Lightning prepared to take a break, the organization was hoping some of those players could return soon and have good health the rest of the way.

"The fact that we had two teams on the ice (at practice Tuesday), everybody is getting closer," Cooper said. "I know it's a short break, but these three days will be a little bonus, and then hopefully come the 26th, 28th, all of a sudden now you're going to start playing more guys, so it should be good.

"We're hoping Santa delivers healthy players on Christmas and they're able to be used on the 26th."

The Lightning got a bit of its Christmas wish Tuesday. Center Cedric Paquette returned to the lineup after missing the previous 15 games with an upper-body injury.

Drouin practiced with the team the previous two days and said he believed he was getting closer to returning. He said it was good to see some of the other guys skate at Monday's practice as well.

Johnson, Brown and Paquette were among the hurt guys skating with Drouin.

"Watching the game with the seven or eight (injured) guys, we can call it Team 2 almost," Drouin said. "It's been that kind of year. So it's nice to see other guys come on, too. (Paquette's) been out for a while, so it's nice to see him out there."

Lightning happy to be home after Christmas break 12/22/15 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 22, 2015 11:54pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. College basketball scandal dips into Tampa Bay


    Tuesday's national college basketball scandal has recruiting ties to Tampa Bay.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]
  2. Lightning's Brayden Point could be perfect fit alongside Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov

    Lightning Strikes

    SUNRISE — Brayden Point ended last season as the Lightning's No. 1 center, thrust into the role as a rookie due to injuries.

    Lightning center Brayden Point (21) advances the puck through the neutral zone during Friday's preseason game against the Nashville Predators. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  3. For starters: Rays at Yankees, with Blake Snell starting, Wilson Ramos cashing in


    UPDATE, 5:59 p.m.: The Rays are officially eliminated from the playoff race with their next loss or the Twins next win. ... Both LHP Xavier Cedeno and 3B coach Charlie Montoyo got word that their familes in Puerto Rico were safe and their homes withstood the hurricane. ... Ramos said he wasn't focused on the …

    Tonight marks Wilson Ramos' 55th start of the season.
  4. Cannon Fodder podcast: Considering Gerald McCoy's comments


    Greg Auman talks about Gerald McCoy's comments — both about fan criticism online and Donald Trump — in the latest episode of our Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Gerald McCoy, front, said Monday that he would love to have a conversation with any of the fans who take to social media to criticize him and his Bucs teammates. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Alex Volkov with a top-six showcase for Lightning


    Alex Volkov entered Lightning camp a bit of an unknown, the second-round pick from Russia in his first NHL camp.

    Alex Volkov (79) works to stop Florida Panthers center Denis Malgin (62) during the second period of Sunday's game in Tampa.