Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning power-play woes start at drop of puck

SUNRISE — There has been plenty of analysis why the Lightning's power play has sputtered; it entered Monday 8-for-75 in its previous 24 games.

But coach Jon Cooper said it might come down to this: the team doesn't win enough power-play faceoffs, a mediocre 45.7 percent (58 of 127) during the skid. Saturday against the Hurricanes, Tampa Bay lost 8 of 13.

"Atrocious," Cooper called it.

Cooper said at least 15 seconds of attack time is lost for every faceoff defeat.

"And that's if you get back into (the offensive zone) clean," he said. "What if you don't get in clean? Now you're looking at 30 (seconds)."

By then, Cooper said, the power-play unit "that's been skating in circles" is tired and most likely facing a fresh penalty-kill unit, "and your chances of scoring go down even more."

"It's a big deal," Cooper said. "It's a huge part of the game."

What can be done? The easy answer is centers must be better, and at least create puck battles if they aren't going to win draws. Cooper said he might commit another player to the initial puck pursuit.

But, assistant coach George Gwozdecky said, centers also must be better before the faceoff communicating where they are trying to put the puck.

"There are times we'll change our strategy in mid stream but we're not communicating that," Gwozdecky said. "One guy thinks we're going somewhere and the other guy things we're going somewhere else and we get a little lost in that."

This is where Tampa Bay really misses injured C Steven Stamkos, Cooper said.

"I don't know if he smelled the blood, but he would dig his heels in on those faceoffs," Cooper said. "We miss that."

Medical matters: Eric Brewer (believed to have an arm injury) did not play Monday against the Panthers. Cooper said he hopes the defenseman misses only one game. … Tampa Bay's injury list is at five, including Stamkos (leg), Ryan Malone (ankle), Keith Aulie (hand) and Brian Lee (knee).

Reentry: Rookie Mark Barberio was in the lineup after consecutive games as a scratch and three of four games in which he did not play 10 minutes.

"I'm just trying to find consistency," said Barberio, who entered Monday with two assists in 20 games and an average 13:54 of ice time. "Some games I'm feeling good and plays are working. Other times I'm a bit jittery or nervous with the puck."

"Sometimes you get a different perspective when you sit upstairs," Cooper said. "One thing is you realize you have a little more time than you think you do out there. You just hope he's digesting that."

Reunion: No firm dates, but there likely will be a reunion of the 2003-04 Stanley Cup team the weekend of March 14 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. That Canucks and former Lightning coach John Tortorella is coming to town for a March 17 game is driving the planning.

Odds and ends: All teams are off (no practices, travel or games) today through Thursday. … Tampa Bay on Monday played with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. … Forwards Richard Panik and P.C. Labrie were scratched.

Comments
Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

The Lightning has re-signed one of its restricted free agents in backup goalie Louis Domingue, who will be back with Tampa Bay on a two-year deal worth $2.3 million.Domingue, 26, was acquired from Arizona in November after he had posted a 4.33 goals-...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning names ex-player Jeff Halpern as new assistant coach

Lightning names ex-player Jeff Halpern as new assistant coach

The Lightning has filled one of the openings on Jon Cooper's coaching staff, announcing Friday  that former Tampa Bay forward Jeff Halpern has been hired as an assistant coach.Halpern, 42, has spent the past two seasons as an assistant with the ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Steve Yzerman: Lightning won’t re-sign forward Chris Kunitz

Steve Yzerman: Lightning won’t re-sign forward Chris Kunitz

As expected, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he does not intend to re-sign veteran forward Chris Kunitz, who will seek his fifth Stanley Cup with a different team next season.Kunitz, 38, brought much-needed playoff experience in his lone...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Live blog: 2018 NHL entry draft

Live blog: 2018 NHL entry draft

The Lightning isn't scheduled to pick until the second round, but there's no telling how active they might be with trades, so you'll want to follow our live coverage throughout the NHL draft Friday (Round 1) and Saturday (Rounds 2-7) in Dallas.(funct...
Updated: 8 hours ago
2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

2018-19 schedule unveiled: Lightning opens with five straight at home

NHL schedules all balance out at the end, but the Lightning will open 2018-19 with five straight home games and end the season with its last four on the road.The Lightning released its schedule Thursday evening for the upcoming season, with all sorts...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

Without a first-rounder, Lightning still could have busy draft weekend

The Lightning doesn't have a first-round pick in this weekend's draft, but that's not to say the weekend couldn't be busy for general manager Steve Yzerman and his front office.The Lightning sent its top draft pick to the Rangers in February as part ...
Published: 06/21/18
Islanders hire Barry Trotz as coach fresh off winning Stanley Cup

Islanders hire Barry Trotz as coach fresh off winning Stanley Cup

DALLAS — The New York Islanders have hired Barry Trotz as their new head coach. President of hockey operations Lou Lamoriello announced the move Thursday at the NHL draft, two weeks after Trotz won the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals and thr...
Published: 06/21/18
Lightning’s Victor Hedman salutes survivors in Norris Trophy acceptance speech

Lightning’s Victor Hedman salutes survivors in Norris Trophy acceptance speech

The victims and survivors of three tragedies — the mass shootings in Las Vegas and at Parkland Stoneman Douglas High School, and the bus accident that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team — were a big part of Wedne...
Published: 06/21/18
Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Lightning’s Victor Hedman wins NHL’s Norris Trophy

Victor Hedman, a relentless part of the Lightning's push to the Eastern Conference final last season, was honored Wednesday night with the Norris Trophy, given to the NHL's top defenseman."To the Lightning organization, Mr. Jeff Vinik, Steve Yzerman ...
Published: 06/20/18
Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

The Tampa Bay Lightning will announce their full 2018-19 schedule on Thursday, but the league announced each home opener Wednesday, with Tampa Bay playing host to the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena on Saturday, Oct. 6.The Lightning will know their ...
Published: 06/20/18