Make us your home page
Instagram

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's Vrbata returns tonight after benching

TAMPA — RW Radim Vrbata will be back in the lineup tonight against the Thrashers after a one-game benching.

"I've got to give Vrbata a chance," coach Barry Melrose said Monday. "I wanted him to watch a game and, hopefully, it will spur him on. And he had a good practice, so, hopefully, that will get Vrbata going."

If Vrbata got anything out of watching Saturday's 1-0 shootout loss to the Wild, he wasn't saying.

"Maybe a first- or second-year player," he said. "But I don't think you play over 400 games, I don't think you pick up anything from the press box. That's my point of view."

Vrbata, with zero points and zero hits in four games, practiced on a line with C Chris Gratton and Mark Recchi.

Enforcer David Koci, who played just 41 seconds in his first game Saturday and took consecutive penalties, will be scratched, Melrose said.

MALIK UPDATE: No word on when D Marek Malik will sign.

"He's not in great shape," Melrose said. "He's worked hard three days in a row, and we'll evaluate him (today). But as of now, he needs more work."

Melrose said Tampa Bay still plans to sign Malik, who continues to skate with the team.

"He's a solid NHL defenseman," he said. "He gives us something we don't have, a big, wide body back there. And he's an excellent penalty killer."

PENALTY WOES: The Lightning had seven minors against the Wild. But Melrose had more to say about what was not called:

"We take too many penalties, but I also think (Minnesota) took more than three. Some things that were called on us could have been called on Minny five or six times, too. Ours were penalties by the letter of the law. But there was stuff going on at the other end, too, that I thought were penalties that weren't called."

ODDS AND ENDS: C Ryan Craig (groin) could be ready for Saturday's game with the Sharks, Melrose said. … The Lightning has played five straight one-goal games, all losses. The team record, set last season, for consecutive one-goal games, win or lose, is six from Jan. 31 to Feb. 12 (3-2-1). … Buy a lower-level ticket tonight and get a free ticket to Saw V on Thursday at Centro Ybor.

Lightning's Vrbata returns tonight after benching 10/20/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 8:47am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  2. Four key games that could decide Bucs' success in 2017

    Blogs

    The Bucs finished so close to making the playoffs in 2016 -- literally flip-flop the last two results and have them beat the Saints and lose to the Panthers and they're in as a wild card with the same 9-7 record -- that it's difficult to say with any certainty what will happen in the 2017 season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, shown celebrating a touchdown against the Giants in 2015, will face New York again this fall in Week 4 in Tampa.
  3. Frank Deford wrote with sincerity, giving depth to complicated sports figures

    Human Interest

    Frank Deford practically invented the notion of multimedia: He exported his voice to radio, TV and film, and if you didn't know him you might have thought he was an actor, because he wore purple suits and looked like Clark Gable. But Frank, who died Sunday at age 78, was a writer above all things, and an important …

    In a 1991 photo, Frank Deford holds a proof of The National Sports Daily, of which he was editor and publisher [Associated Press]
  4. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire

    Blogs

    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.
  5. Jose De Leon sent back to minors after helping Rays win

    Blogs

    RHP Jose De Leon worked 2 2/3 innings to get the win in his Rays debut Monday and then was optioned back to Triple-A Durham.

    De Leon was brought up to provide length and depth in the bullpen after the Rays played 15 innings on Sunday, and he did that, allowing three runs on four hits while throwing 69 …