Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning hopes no rust from rest

TAMPA — Coach Jon Cooper said the unusual drill, set early in Friday's fast-paced 90-minute practice, was aimed to have the Lightning players "touch as many pucks as possible."

Players lined up across each blue line, with three — sometimes four — others skating in between, rapidly receiving and re-directing passes as they shuffled through.

"It was a little bit of organized chaos," center Nate Thompson said.

With the Lightning returning to the ice late Friday afternoon for the first time after a three-day, league-mandated holiday break, its goal was to not lose any momentum gained from a five-game winning streak.

And Tampa Bay (23-11-3) is hoping rest won't lead to rust in tonight's game against the Canadiens at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

"You go into these breaks, reel off as many (wins) as we did, you almost don't want to kind of break that up," Cooper said. "But in the big picture, I'm glad we had this little break. It was good for everybody to get a rest."

After Monday's 6-1 win in Sunrise over the Panthers, Tampa Bay wasn't allowed to practice as the league shut down Tuesday through Thursday. Many players took advantage of the time off, including Thompson, who traveled to Minnesota, and goalie Ben Bishop, who went back home to St. Louis. Both flew back to Tampa on Friday morning.

"It was a good time," Thompson said. "A lot of food, lot of drinks."

Cooper, who said he slept a lot during the break, said players are in "too good of shape that three days is going to take them down." And he thought his team looked pretty rejuvenated in what he labeled a hard skate.

"People out there say, 'Oh, you play hockey for a living, you coach hockey for a living,' and all the things that come with that," Cooper said. "But I think when you're in it, it's a grind (with) the travel, late hours, preparation. It's a ton of fun to do, and I wouldn't wish I was doing anything else. But to be on top of it, you need a couple days away and come back fired up to be back. All the guys had a little extra jump in their step (Friday)."

They also had a little fun. During a break late in the practice, forward B.J. Crombeen flipped wrist shots from the blue line at Bishop, who caught the pucks while squatting like a baseball catcher, calling balls and strikes.

"They were all balls," Bishop said, smiling. "A little low."

Bishop said there might be a little rust tonight early on. But it works both ways. Montreal had a longer layoff, having last played Dec. 20.

"The way we've been playing," Bishop said. "I don't think it'll be a factor."

NOTES: With defensemen Eric Brewer (upper body) and Sami Salo (upper body) doubtful for tonight's game, the Lightning recalled defenseman Dmitry Korobov from AHL Syracuse. … Wing Ryan Malone (ankle fracture) participated in his first full-team practice since being hurt in November but likely won't be ready to play until at least next week.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TBTimes_JSmith.

Comments
Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

The Ottawa Senators traded winger Mike Hoffman on Tuesday, hoping to solve an ugly off-ice issue involving star defenseman Erik Karlsson and his wife. The Senators sent Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who then dealt him to the Florida Panthers. All t...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Thanks, Vegas. That’s what NHL general managers are saying this offseason after the Stanley Cup Final run of the expansion Golden Knights contributed to what’s expected to be a healthy increase for the salary cap. With elite center John Tavares, No. ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz abruptly stepped down as coach of the Washington Capitals on Monday after failing to agree to terms on a new contract, a stunning move that left the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft later this week and wit...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

The Lightning re-signed goaltender Eddie Pasquale to a one-year, two-way contract general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.Pasquale, 27, split this past season between the Syracuse Crunch and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League. He...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

TAMPA — The Lightning will open its seven-game preseason schedule at home with a 7:30 p.m.  game Sept. 18 against the Carolina Hurricane, the team announced Thursday.That is one of three home games the Lightning will play in a preseason sc...
Published: 06/14/18
Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Sixteen months after acquiring Peter Budaj from the Kings, the Lightning today returned the veteran goaltender to Los Angeles.The Lightning traded Budaj for forward Andy Andreoff, general manager Steve Yzerman announced in a news release.Andreoff, 27...
Published: 06/13/18
Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

This past season didn't end the way Lightning fans might have hoped, but that's no reason to lose hope.In fact, oddsmakers are more bullish on Tampa Bay than any team in the NHL for next season.According to at least one sports betting site, the ...
Published: 06/08/18
Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

LAS VEGAS — Before Devante Smith-Pelly could relax or breathe or even start thinking about his game-tying goal, he had to start moving his feet.The period of recall began midway through the third period Thursday night, when the Capitals trailed, 3-2....
Published: 06/08/18
Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup wait is finally over. Who has waited longer?

Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup wait is finally over. Who has waited longer?

The Washington Capitals won the first Stanley Cup title in the franchise's 43-year history Thursday night in Las Vegas.And still the St. Louis Blues and their fans wait. The Blues marked their 50th NHL season this year; 50 years without a Cup.He...
Published: 06/08/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What could have been for the Lightning

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What could have been for the Lightning

As the Washington Capitals celebrate their first Stanley Cup championship, Rick Stroud reflects on what could have been for the Lightning, which came within a victory of eliminating Washington in the conference final.Plus, the Rays lose in ...
Published: 06/08/18