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 takes training camp to Estero

This is an important week for the Lightning.

As the team today begins six days of training camp at Germain Arena in Estero, not only is picking a final roster on the to-do list but so is more completely installing coach Jon Cooper's system.

For players, though, the time away from family and friends — and being in close quarters with teammates — offers a chance to form bonds and friendships that can produce those got-your-back relationships on the ice that are so important.

"It's the old cliche," center Steven Stamkos said. "But I think it does work."

Teams can arrange these trips in several ways.

Beyond the usual players-only dinners and golf outings, some teams set up activities. Defenseman Matt Carle recalled a trip with the Sharks to the Canadian mountain town of Banff, during which the team went curling.

"That always sticks out because everyone was so bad at it," Carle said.

When the Lightning traveled to Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, for part of its 2011-12 training camp, then-assistant coach Dan Lacroix put together problem-solving games in which players, in teams, worked together.

This week, the social agenda is being left to the players.

"Are we setting up what they're doing? No," Cooper said. "But have we given them, 'This is a great day to do something?' Yes."

"They're giving us opportunities to build that," right wing Marty St. Louis said of team chemistry. "It's up to us what we do with it."

The trip to southwest Florida couldn't have come at a better time for a team probably feeling the physical and mental fatigue of camp.

Tampa Bay on Saturday finished a grueling stretch of four games in four nights, something Cooper said he hadn't experienced since his days in the junior North American league, though going undefeated probably made it easier to take.

Coaches also dealt with three-a-day practices; players, especially those trying to make the roster, with being judged on everything they did. Cutting 22 players Saturday to reduce the camp roster to 36 should ease the frenetic pace, as will a better spacing of games Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Not that the tension won't be substantial for those on the bubble; 13 more cuts are needed to get to the roster limit of 23. It's just that "we'll be a little bit more individual," Cooper said. "Where are guys going to fit, more special teams, more focus on the intricacies of the game."

And perhaps some beach volleyball for the players.

"It will be good to get everybody together and start building that chemistry and team camaraderie," Carle said. "It's just a matter of getting guys together to know each other a little bit."

MINOR MOVES: Goaltenders Riku Helenius and Cedrick Desjardins cleared waivers and were assigned to AHL Syracuse. Left wing Geoff Walker was placed on waivers with the intention of also sending him to the Crunch.

SCHEDULE: Only Wednesday's noon practice at Germain Arena is open to the public.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Lightning takes training camp to Estero 09/22/13 [Last modified: Sunday, September 22, 2013 9:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion


    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.