BRANDON — It it impractical to ban all head shots, Lightning D Pavel Kubina said, responding to a call by Penguins star Sidney Crosby to do so. The game is so fast and physical, "accidents are going to happen."
Much better, Kubina said, is for the league to be consistent punishing malicious hits so players know they are accountable.
"If you do it on purpose, it has to be the same for everybody," he said. "Sometimes you don't get anything, and sometimes there's a couple of games."
Kubina, 34, has a point.
The big Czech was suspended three games by the league last season for what he said was an accidental elbow that concussed Chicago's Dave Bolland. But Washington's Jason Chimera in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals got away with an elbow to the back of Kubina's head that caused a concussion and knocked him out of the playoffs.
"It should be one rule," Kubina said, adding he is ready for training camp to start Friday at the Ice Sports Forum.
"If you hit somebody in the head, it doesn't matter if that person is injured or not. It has to be the same for everybody.''
BLAST FROM THE PAST: RW Michel Ouellet said he jumped at the chance to rejoin the organization for which he played in 2007-08.
"I didn't wait," he said of responding to the offer of a one-year, two-way deal. "It's the type of situation I want to play in."
Ouellet, 29, spent the past two seasons playing in Europe, so he knows he must re-establish his NHL credentials. That said, his time with Tampa Bay wasn't too shabby.
Despite a dislocated shoulder that limited him to 64 games, Ouellet had 17 goals, five on the power play, and was a team-best plus-11. He and D Shane O'Brien were traded in October 2008 to the Canucks for D Lukas Krajicek and prospect Juraj Simek.
"It's a second chance for me," Ouellet said.
CLOSE CALL: The Lightning held its breath during Wednesday's informal scrimmage when W Marty St. Louis ran into and knocked down Dustin Tokarski. The team's top goaltending prospect was in his first extended skate since sustaining an abdominal injury during last season's playoffs with AHL Norfolk.
After taking his time getting to his feet, Tokarski dazzled with a right-leg stop off a backhand from in close. Someone on the ice yelled, "Nice save!"
"It's coming along," Tokarski said of the injury that did not require surgery. "The trainers and staff have done a great job. It's improving every day."
BAD TRIP: The Lightning, with a goal by Tyler Johnson, fell 4-1 to the host Panthers to end a prospects tournament in Coral Springs at 0-3 and outscored 15-6.
Malone update: W Ryan Malone (arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder) said he has little doubt he will be ready for the final two preseason games.
CAMP SCHEDULE: Training camp opens Friday with off-ice testing and physicals. On-ice workouts Saturday-Monday are at 10 a.m. The remaining schedule is to be determined. All on-ice activities are free to the public.
Damian Cristodero can be reached at email@example.com.