Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning trusting rookie Jake Dotchin to boost power play

DENVER — Raise your hand if you thought rookie D Jake Dotchin would be running the point on the power play at any point this season.

Didn't think so.

But there was Dotchin, 22, on Saturday against the Stars, getting key special teams shifts in just his 10th NHL game. But there's a reason for it: The Lightning likes Dotchin's shot — specifically, how he's able to get the puck to the net. An example was on Victor Hedman's goal Saturday when he pounced on a rebound of a Dotchin tipped shot.

"He's been unbelievable for us," C Tyler Johnson said. "You mention him being able to get shots through. Since he's been up, he's probably been one of our best defenders at doing that. He's got a lot of skill, has the size, he can skate and he competes hard. He's earned his time."

Dotchin, 6 feet 3 and 207 pounds, said he got some power-play time with AHL Syracuse, initially as a one-timer setup man on the second unit. But with injuries and callups, he got more time. Dotchin credits Crunch coach Benoit Groulx with encouraging him to move more at the blue line to create shooting lanes. Getting shots through hasn't always been Dotchin's strong suit. "I've been working at it," he said. "And now it's showing up a little in my game."

Dotchin's simple, steady game has earned the trust of the Lightning coaches, who have put him out in 3-on-3 overtime situations.

"He's not intimidated by the NHL, but he's also not been cocky," coach Jon Cooper said. "He just took what he learned in the (AHL), he's applied it to the NHL, and it's working for him."

Trade talk

The Lightning had representatives at both Predators games over the weekend, including assistant GM Pat Verbeek on Sunday. Nashville assistant GM Paul Fenton has been at a few Lightning games in Tampa. Could the teams be a fit at the March 1 deadline? Reps/scouts at Sunday's Lightning game in Colorado included two from the Rangers and one apiece from Montreal, Washington, Chicago and Columbus. Calgary, which could have interest in G Ben Bishop, got to watch the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist start Sunday. Bishop was nearly dealt to Calgary at last year's draft.

Numbers of the day

3-12-4 All teams' record this season in their first game after their bye

What they're saying

"We're a desperate team. We need points. We need wins."

Defenseman Victor Hedman

Slap shots

> D Luke Witkowski was scratched for the fourth straight game. You'd think he'd get a shot at playing, maybe replacing Andrej Sustr for a night. The AHL Syracuse captain is in limbo. He likely would be lost on waivers if Tampa Bay tried sending him down.

> The Triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov was reunited late Saturday and to start Sunday's game. Maybe that can spark Kucherov, who entered Sunday without a point in three straight games, his longest stretch of the season.

> For those wondering why LW Michael Bournival hasn't been recalled from Syracuse, he hasn't even played in the past three games because of an undisclosed injury. He's considered day-to-day.

Comments
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Golden Knights are giving Vegas a great odds-beating story in their first year.The expansion team has the whole league playing catchup.James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault scored to help Vegas beat the Hurricanes 5-1 on Sunday and...
Updated: 9 hours ago
What’s gone wrong with Lightning?

What’s gone wrong with Lightning?

It didn't take the sound of a door slamming in the dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay felt like it worked hard – at least, harder than Thursday's listless loss to Vegas – yet dropped another ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Ondrej Palat out indefinitely, Lightning calls up two

Ondrej Palat out indefinitely, Lightning calls up two

The Lightning's telling trip just got tougher.Wing Ondrej Palat flew back to Tampa for more tests Monday and will be out indefinitely, a big blow to the Lightning's shutdown line. Palat suffered a lower-body injury getting speared by Minnesota's Jare...
Published: 01/21/18
Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

Lightning falls to Wild, its fifth loss in seven games

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Lightning said all the right things about needing to look in the mirror and do some soul-searching during its recent funk. Veterans said they had to lead the way. Coach Jon Cooper believed this eight-game trip would "show us wha...
Published: 01/20/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Mikhail Sergachev gets thrown into the fire for Lightning

Mikhail Sergachev gets thrown into the fire for Lightning

ST. PAUL, Minn. — For the first 20-plus games this season, Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness knew "the look" was coming.The other team’s top line would jump over the boards and Tampa Bay rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev would peek over at Bow...
Published: 01/20/18
Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

Missing the Olympics a missed opportunity (and misstep) for NHL?

One week from today, Tampa will be the center of the hockey world.The All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. Players will smile for the cameras. They'll put on a fantastic show. Maybe they'll catch a bead or two from a Gasparilla parade.But you ...
Published: 01/20/18
Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

Andrei Vasilevskiy: ‘I have to be better’

The rest of the Lightning players had already left the ice Friday afternoon, heading into the dressing room for a quick change before the team's charter flight to Minnesota.But goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 23, stayed on late, facing about 15 minutes mo...
Published: 01/20/18
Sunday Conversation: Lightning VP Keith Harris strikes a chord for the Boys & Girls Clubs

Sunday Conversation: Lightning VP Keith Harris strikes a chord for the Boys & Girls Clubs

Keith Harris fondly looks back on some memorable days from his Tampa upbringing when he worked as a lifeguard at a pool next to a Boys & Girls Club. ¶Whenever it rained, he watched as the kids retreated to the safe haven of the club. They entered int...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18