Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Marty St. Louis says Tampa Bay Lightning needs greater effort to get on a roll, shake "entitled" attitude

RECOMMENDED READING


BRANDON — There comes a time in every season going bad when someone — if that season is to be saved — forces those responsible to look in the mirror.

That is what happened Monday at the Ice Sports Forum when wing Marty St. Louis said Lightning players, including himself, have not worked hard enough, smart enough or consistent enough.

"Last year, there were a lot of games we just deserved," he said. "We earned it every day. This year, it hasn't been as much."

The result is Tampa Bay is 13th in the 15-team Eastern Conference, nine points out of the eighth and final playoff spot and facing a crucial 12-game stretch in which nine games are at home and a season is on the line.

That after falling one game short last season of reaching the Stanley Cup final.

"When you have the success we had last year, you feel entitled a little bit and you forget the process," St. Louis said. "You just think it's going to be there because it was there. You just think about the end result."

"It's a lot of things," St. Louis added. "It's execution. It's effort."

Bottom line, he said, "We've got to get on a long run pretty quick."

Starting one against the Canucks tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum is a tall order. Vancouver entered Monday leading the Western Conference and with the league's top power play. Its 29 road points (14-8-1) also lead the West.

The Lightning (17-20-3), losers of three straight, gets back home, where it is 11-5-0 with the fourth-best home power play.

But it also returns with players going through a catharsis; for the first time publicly saying an inattention to detail and inconsistent effort have been as much contributors to the team's woes as the oft-cited injuries and road-heavy schedule.

"You have those (playoff) expectations and you forget about the process and how we got in," left wing Ryan Malone said. "You have to realize the work ethic and everything we put into it and remember how hard we have to work."

"You have to respect the process to win," said goaltender Dwayne Roloson, who will face the Canucks. "What Marty is saying is to play KISS hockey — keep it simple, stupid. Do what you're asked to do. It's putting your mind to it, your desire, your determination to do whatever it takes to win hockey games."

It all was music to coach Guy Boucher's ears.

"It's like Alcoholics Anonymous," he said. "Until you say that you're an alcoholic you can't make the steps. … Players maybe felt a sense of entitlement, so it's good it's internalized. Before they were being told but it wasn't internalized. Now they realize where they are"

Where they are is in a desperate fight for a playoff spot.

"With our back against the wall we'll be a better hockey club," forward Tom Pyatt said.

When asked if there was optimism among the players, St. Louis said, "Of course there is. All the guys who had success last year are still here. We lost a few guys but we still have some key guys here who got it done."

And who finally have figured out they were not just entitled.

PYATT SIGNS: Pyatt signed a two-year contract extension through 2013-14 believed to pay $600,000 a season.

Pyatt, 24, who is making $525,000 this season and could have been a restricted free agent, has three goals, five points and is minus-6 in 35 games while averaging 13:11 of ice time.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Don’t forget Ryan Callahan in Lightning’s resurgence

Don’t forget Ryan Callahan in Lightning’s resurgence

WASHINGTON — Much has been made about the impact on the Lightning of a healthy C Steven Stamkos, who missed most of last season after knee surgery.But don’t forget about RW Ryan Callahan, 32, who is looking like his old self after hip problems plague...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

Nikita Kucherov really does admire Patrick Kane

TAMPA — Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has watched plenty of film on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane.Kucherov marveled how the 2015-16 league MVP uses deception to "hide" from defenders. He noticed how patient Kane was with the puck, how well he passed ...
Published: 11/22/17
Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

Lightning beats Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA — The Lightning entered Wednesday’s game against the Blackhawks determined to avoid its first losing streak of the season. And it did in dramatic fashion, with Brayden Point’s power-play goal in overtime lifting it to a 3-2 victory. "A big boun...
Published: 11/22/17

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Lightning-Blackhawks game

Every Lightning-Blackhawks game at Amalie Arena has a good representation of red in the stands. And Wednesday’s matchup was no exception, with a large contingent of transplants and travelers. "It feels like half the city of Chicago is traveling down ...
Published: 11/22/17

‘Good chance’ Cedric Paquette back for Lightning

For Cedric Paquette, the wait may finally be over.Paquette said there's a good chance he returns to the Lightning lineup tonight against the Blackhawks at Amalie Arena (7:30 p.m., NBCSN). Paquette had missed the last 13 games with an undisclosed inju...
Published: 11/22/17
Lightning-Blackhawks: Tampa Bay is killing it on penalty-killers

Lightning-Blackhawks: Tampa Bay is killing it on penalty-killers

BRANDON — A successful penalty kill begins long before the offending Lightning player, whistled two minutes earlier for some infraction, leaves the box with the score unchanged.It begins with a detailed scouting report of the opposing team’s power pl...
Published: 11/21/17
Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

Lightning impressed with improved offense from defensemen

BRANDON — At one point during Saturday’s game against the Islanders, the Lightning was first in the NHL in points and second in points scored by its defensemen. That’s one reason the team is off to the best start in franchise history.It’s also by des...
Published: 11/20/17
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Published: 11/19/17
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Published: 11/18/17
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Published: 11/18/17