Sunday, February 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Long offseason an adventure for Lightning players

BRANDON — Lightning center Steven Stamkos said he had no idea teammate Matt Carle had a cameo role in the movie This Is 40.

So when Stamkos this week took in the comedy, he did a double take.

"I don't know if he actually had a cut on his face or they put it there," Stamkos said, "but he looked pretty tough."

As for Carle's future on the big screen, Stamkos smiled and said simply, "No."

Carle described acting as "awkward." What was cool, though, was going to Los Angeles for the December premiere and, as the defenseman said Wednesday at the Ice Sports Forum, "seeing the Hollywood lifestyle."

The adventure was one of several for Lightning players during the lockout, from center Nate Thompson catching a 29-inch rainbow trout on a fishing trip in the Alaska wilderness to wings Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone sitting down for a chat with rock star Eddie Vedder.

Right wing Dana Tyrell, who played in Slovakia for Banska Bystrica, ate pigs knees — really — at a local restaurant.

"It was huge," he said. "Three of us shared it."

And defenseman Brendan Mikkelson had a 21-hour excursion to Tampa from Sweden, where he played for Vasteras. Mikkelson said that after a nine-hour flight from Stockholm, he almost missed his connecting flight from Chicago to Tampa. But a bride and her bridesmaids held up the departure because they couldn't stuff the wedding dress into an overhead bin.

"They were trying to get people to check their luggage" to make room, Mikkelson said.

But let's stick with Carle.

He said his scene from This Is 40 was filmed two years ago when he played for the Flyers. He and then-teammates James van Riemsdyk, Scott Hartnell and Ian Laperriere were recruited for the film through the NHL.

The players, with two real actors, try to pick up actors Leslie Mann (Debbie) and Megan Fox (Desi) in a bar. Carle just laughs and later is in the background doing a nifty little line dance.

"It was awkward," said Carle, who admitted the cut on his left cheek was makeup. "When you see the actors and how easy they make it look, you can tell it didn't come easy to us."

What apparently came easy to Carle and Thompson was fly-fishing on Alaska's Kvichak River. That's where Thompson caught his 29-inch rainbow trout. Carle, Thompson said, pulled one in at 29 1/2 inches.

"We were pretty jacked up, for sure, high-fiving and everything," Thompson said.

Both players are from Anchorage, where Thompson played during the lockout for the ECHL Alaska Aces. The trip to the river included an hour flight to Iliamna, in the southwest part of the state near Bristol Bay. A 4-mile boat ride upriver to Igiugig put them, as Thompson said, "in the middle of nowhere."

He said both fish were released.

As for Purcell, he accomplished one of those bucket list things when he met Vedder, the Pearl Jam frontman Purcell called "my favorite artist."

The sit-down came in December after Vedder played the second of two solo shows at Ruth Eckerd Hall. It happened because Purcell's buddy, Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey, knew someone in Vedder's entourage.

"He's very deep, very intelligent," Purcell said of Vedder. "He's almost inspiring because of how much stuff he does with charities around the world."

According to Purcell, Vedder said it was "humbling" that Purcell, Quincey and Malone saw both shows.

"He talked on a personal level," Purcell said. "I'm obviously a big fan of his music, but his thought process, how deep he was, it was pretty interesting stuff."

An interesting lockout, too.

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