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Prospal: No problems in Tampa Bay Lightning locker room

Vinny Prospal denied that there were any players “grumbling.”

Vinny Prospal denied that there were any players “grumbling.”

TORONTO — F Vinny Pros­pal on Tuesday brushed aside questions about "grumbling" in the Lightning locker room.

"I don't think there is anything like that," he said.

The locker room became a place of interest after Hockey Night in Canada's Al Strachan said a player was his source for a report that owner Len Barrie was inside, diagramming plays during the season-opening games in Prague.

The team strongly denounced the story, and coach Barry Melrose again called it "a lie."

"Canada used to be a country where you couldn't lie," he said. "I was brought up in Saskatchewan, and if I lied, my father would kick my butt. But, obviously, that's not the case in Ontario, where you can say anything you want without repercussions."

Prospal held firm when a Toronto reporter pestered him about possible problems in the locker room.

"We have a good group of guys here. We get along great," Pros­pal said. "We have no problems. We just have to get some wins.

"Obviously, everybody wants there to be more wins," he added. "There are no problems anywhere else."

VINNY WANTS MORE: Vinny Lecavalier entered Tuesday averaging 19:31 of ice time but played 18:25 and 16:38 his previous two games and politely said he wants more minutes:

"I would like to play more. I want to get the 20 minutes in there, or 21 minutes. A lot of people say we played too much last year and I understand that. But 20, 21 minutes, I think would be a good number."

Melrose has said he does not want Lecavalier or Marty St. Louis averaging 25 minutes as they did last season. But Lecavalier said, "The more you play, the more you're into the game. I'm so used to always being back out there and being in the game; when you play 16, 17 minutes it's a little tougher to do."

Lecavalier played 17:49 against Toronto.

"They played better and got more ice time," Melrose said of Lecavalier's line. "It's a very simple equation. You don't need Archimedes to figure that out."

POPULAR GUY: About 50 reporters staked out Steven Stamkos' locker after the morning skate. His reaction: "It was pretty cool."

While expectations were that Stamkos, who grew up in a Toronto suburb, would be badgered about a lack of points and playing time, he was treated kindly.

He even got a boost from Melrose, who gave the center 12:58 of ice time, almost two minutes more than his average 11:09. It might have been more had not Tampa Bay taken four minor penalties in the first period.

"We're trying to get him his first goal, too," Melrose said. "That will give the people something else to write about, when he scores his first goal."

ODDS AND ENDS: Prospal played his 800th NHL game. … Fs Ryan Craig (groin), Radim Vrbata (groin) and Jason Ward, and D Janne Niskala were scratched.

Prospal: No problems in Tampa Bay Lightning locker room 10/28/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 30, 2008 3:04pm]
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