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)

Pavel Kubina steps up game for Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA — The red bruise on Pavel Kubina's right knee didn't look like much, but the Lightning defenseman rubbed it anyway.

"Hurts like a b - - - -," he said.

Not that Kubina minded given how he was nicked: sliding to block Daniel Sedin's shot with three seconds left in overtime Tuesday to help send the game with the Canucks to a shootout.

That Tampa Bay lost the shootout was beside the point. "A huge block," goaltender Dwayne Roloson said. "It just goes to show his character. He's willing to do whatever it takes to win hockey games."

Kubina, 34, has gotten a lot of such praise lately.

In his past 10 games, the big Czech has two goals and five points, doubling his goals and equalling his points from his previous 31. His 24:53 average of ice time is up more than seven minutes, and he is plus-6 with 31 blocked shots.

The timing could not have been better. Defenseman Victor Hedman went out with a concussion Dec. 27. Coach Guy Boucher asked Kubina, 6 feet 4, 258 pounds, to pick up the slack.

"He works extremely hard," Boucher said. "He has incredible poise with the puck on breakouts. He's got a big body, and he's using it to protect the puck. It's helping us a lot."

"I built my confidence the last couple of weeks," Kubina said. "I got comfortable with my game and playing against the other team's top lines."

This hasn't been the easiest season for Kubina, who said he has struggled at times to keep up in a game that has gotten exponentially faster during his 14-season career.

Playing more has helped because it keeps him in the flow of the game. But just knowing he will play more is as important. It allows Kubina, a member of Tampa Bay's 2004 Stanley Cup team, to be proactive on the ice rather than just reactive.

"When you play less, you just don't want to make a mistake," he said. "Lately I've got a lot of opportunity on the power play and penalty killing, five-on-five, the last minutes in a game. It builds my confidence."

So has playing with Eric Brewer on the team's top defensive pairing, which likely will face Eric Staal's line when the Lightning plays the Hurricanes tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Kubina said Brewer is "smart with the puck." Brewer praised Kubina for being "a really good puck-handler" with "a good sense of the ice." Both also are vocal on the bench and ice.

"He likes to know where we're at on a shift," Brewer said. "He wants to make changes if we need positioning corrections."

There wasn't much to talk about when it came to challenging Sedin's shot Tuesday on a four-on-three power play. Kubina and fellow defenseman Brett Clark sprawled in front of the puck.

The wrist shot from the slot hit both players and stopped when it slammed into Kubina's knee.

"We were just trying to block the shot," Kubina said. "That's what you have to do. You have to sacrifice for wins."

Even if it hurts like a ... .

Pavel Kubina steps up game for Tampa Bay Lightning 01/11/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning planning $6 million upgrade to practice facility

    Blogs

    Lightning owner Jeff Vinik will invest $6 million in upgrading the team's practice facility, the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon.

    The plan will create a brand new locker room and training facilities for the team, an 18,000 square foot addition.
  2. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB

    Bucs

    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]

  3. Rays DFA Danny Farquhar to make room for Brad Boxberger

    Blogs

    The Rays continued shuffling their bullpen, dumping RHP Danny Farquhar after Wednesday's game to make room for RHP Brad Boxberger to be activated off the DL.

    Farquhar, who worked an inning in Wednesday's 6-2 loss, had a 2-2, 4.11 record for 37 appearances, working primarily in lower leverage situations. In …

  4. USF to face Indiana in men's basketball next season

    College

    The USF men's basketball team will get an early test from a Big Ten powerhouse next season.

  5. Rays employee helps save suicidal woman near Pirates stadium (w/video)

    Blogs

    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.

    Multimedia production manager Mike Weinman, 32, was walking across the Roberto Clemente Bridge with Rays broadcasting director Larry McCabe when he …

    A Rays front-office employee joined umpire John Tumpane in saving a woman threatening to jump from a bridge near PNC Park on Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh.