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Lightning Nuts & Bolts: Ready for the All-Star Game experiment

Short shift w/RW Jonathan Marchessault

Most prized memorabilia: I've got all the jerseys (for the teams) I've played for (as a) pro. I got all them and signed them. When I have a house, I'm going to have a nice basement with all of them.

Favorite dad activity: We love taking it easy in the afternoon, going outside and playing with them (James, 19 months, and Victoria, 1 month). My little guy, James, he loves playing hockey; has his hockey stick in his hands 24/7 pretty much. Fun to shoot with him.

How did you meet your wife, Alexandra? We are from the same town (Cap-Rouge, Quebec). Her brother went to same school as me, same classes. My first year (as a) pro I got to know her, and we meet up, and it just clicked right away.

Favorite TV show: I love TV shows. Prison Break was good, Friday Night Lights.

Person you'd most like to meet: I think Will Smith would be fun to meet, or Kevin Hart. Funny guys.

Switch it up

Think the 3-on-3 overtime format is wildly entertaining?

Just wait until this year's All-Star Game in Nashville on Jan. 31, with the league changing the game to three separate 20-minute, 3-on-3 games for a four-team mini tournament. The idea is to make the game more competitive, and the league is sweetening the pot, with $1 million split among the winning team's players. Each team, representing each division, will have 11 players, six forwards, three defensemen and two goalies.

"The game itself is obviously not the pace they want," Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said. "It's tough. Guys are going there to have some fun. You want it to be competitive. We've got a pretty good chunk of money that's up for grabs, a little different style. I think guys will be excited about it."

Center Tyler Johnson, an All-Star last year, said the change is worth a shot. "It's tough to play hockey when you're not really playing physical," Johnson said. "So I can see sometimes fans thinking it's not as much fun. It's going to be a different experience. I'm excited to see how it turns out."

To get the NHL Players Association to sign off on the format, the league is giving each team a five-day "bye week" next season between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28.

Locks of love

Lightning defenseman Luke Witkowski's curly brown hair is reaching caveman levels, especially combined with his bushy beard. But it's all for a good cause. Witkowski plans on donating his hair after he eventually gets it cut. He said he did something similar while at Western Michigan University, giving it to be used for pediatric cancer patients. Witkowski hasn't had a real hair cut in more than a year. "I don't think I can donate the beard," he quipped. "I don't think anybody would want it."

From the Fans

Question: What is your favorite road arena to play in?

D Matt Carle: It's got to be New York or Montreal. Hard to compare. Both Original Six teams. Atmosphere is always great. Going into those buildings and coming out with wins is pretty rare. When you do that, it's a pretty good feeling.

Have a question?

Send your questions for the Lightning to beat writer Joe Smith on Twitter @TBTimes_JSmith or email joesmith@tampabay.com. We'll answer one each Sunday.

Lightning Nuts & Bolts: Ready for the All-Star Game experiment 11/21/15 [Last modified: Saturday, November 21, 2015 6:05pm]
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