Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Mike Kostka happy to be reunited with coach Jon Cooper

NASHVILLE — Mike Kostka said he had no preferred destination when the Blackhawks put him on waivers.

Still, things could not have worked out better for Kostka, who Sunday was claimed by the Lightning, which reunited the defenseman with coach Jon Cooper, for whom Kostka played at AHL Norfolk during its 2011-12 Calder Cup title run.

"If there's a team you're going to get picked up by, I guess it's the best situation to get picked up by a team where you're familiar with the system," Kostka said Thursday.

Kostka, 28, could use such a break. Out almost two months this season with a foot injury, he played just nine games for Chicago, with two goals and three points. He had seven goals and 32 points in 52 regular-season games for Norfolk, and six goals and 12 points in 18 playoff games.

Kostka, scratched for the 3-2 loss to the Predators, likely will get in at least two practices before playing in a game. When he does, Cooper said, he will be used as Jean-Philippe Cote was during his callup from AHL Syracuse. Cote averaged 10:00 of ice time.

The difference is Kostka can play on the power play.

"He's a depth defenseman for us," Cooper said. "He's going to play a role to help us win games. He's just got to wait for his name to be called to get in."

"I was just hoping I would get picked up by some place I could showcase my skills," Kostka said. "It was gravy it ended up being a place I was familiar with."

FILPPULA SORE: Valtteri Filppula participated in the morning skate wearing a red no-contact jersey and said the nondisplaced fracture in his right ankle is too sore to play on. "I wish it was better. It's getting better, just not good enough to play."

Cooper said he expects the center to play during the road trip.

Filppula, with 21 goals and 41 points in 56 games, was hurt Feb. 6 against the Maple Leafs by a first-period shot. He played into the third period but left the game and then missed the Feb. 8 game against the Red Wings.

Quick turns and starts after stops are most painful, he said. "It's frustrating," Filppula said. "Hopefully, it starts moving a little quicker now."

STAYING PUT: W Reto Suri has decided to play out the last year of his contract with Zug of the Swiss National League A and not join the Lightning next season, Zug's website reported. Tampa Bay signed Suri last summer, but the contract was voided by the Swiss federation because there is no transfer agreement between the NHL and Switzerland. Suri had been trying to negotiate his way out of his Zug contract.

ODDS AND ENDS: RW Marty St. Louis, who in the game broke a nine-game streak without a goal, had his 50th career multigoal game with two first-period goals and his sixth this season … C Vlad Namestnikov's father, Evgeny, played two games for the Predators in 1999-2000. … D Keith Aulie also was scratched. … The Predators got their second win when trailing after the first period (2-17-4). … The 13th annual Bolt Run is 7 a.m. March 15. Participants get a free ticket to that night's game at the Tampa Bay Times Forum against the Devils. Register at tampabaylightning.com/boltrun.

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