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Rick Tocchet demands intensity from Tampa Bay Lightning

THE RAcE IS ON: Lightning forward Drew Miller, right, who is without a point in 13 games, races against Maple Leafs defenseman Ian White for a puck.

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THE RAcE IS ON: Lightning forward Drew Miller, right, who is without a point in 13 games, races against Maple Leafs defenseman Ian White for a puck.

TORONTO — Coach Rick Tocchet reiterated before Tuesday's game there could be roster changes in the not-so-distant future if the Lightning did not consistently play with more intensity, especially on the road.

"We have some players here we're going to have to make some decisions on soon," he said. "You can't be a passenger, and we can't rely on our goaltenders to stand on their heads and a couple of individuals scoring goals to win games."

Asked if that was a threat, Tocchet said it was more "reality."

"When you're a player that's consistently giving nothing, zeroes in terms of points, and you're not hitting and you're not doing certain things to help the team, the reality is there's going to be roster changes. That's normal in NHL life.

"I don't know if we're at that point. … We need more passion from certain guys."

One might be RW Drew Miller, who has zero points and 10 shots in 13 games, was demoted to the fourth line with C Zenon Konopka and Todd Fedoruk and played just 4:09 against the Maple Leafs.

For the first time in a while the organization also has some push from the minors as forwards Ryan Craig and Brandon Bochenski each has seven goals at AHL Norfolk.

Both players would have to clear re-entry waivers. Still, Tocchet said he would not mind seeing either come up if circumstances warranted.

"If that's what it takes to wake guys up, for sure," he said. "You talk to management and go from there."

MUTUAL ADMIRATION: Lighting rookie D Victor Hedman and Maple Leafs rookie G Jonas Gustavsson faced each other for two seasons in Sweden's elite league and appreciate each other's talents.

"The way he moves, he looks so calm all the time," Gustavsson, 25, said. "He knows what to do with the puck, and he's in the right place all the time."

"It's hard to put into words, he's such a good goalie," Hedman, 18, said. "He's just so fast. He's going to have a huge impact."

WHERE'S FOSTER?: The Lightning could certainly use Kurtis Foster's big shot on a power play that is on a 3-for-31 streak, but Tocchet said the defenseman, scratched for the second straight game and the third time in six, has to clean up his five-on-five game.

"I don't want to get into a situation with him where you use him for the big shot, and he sits on the bench the rest of the night," Tocchet said. "He's got to play five-on-five, too. He knows it, and he's been working hard in practice. He'll get in there soon."

Meantime, D Lukas Krajicek, whom the Lightning wouldn't mind moving, gets a chance to be seen by opposing scouts.

ODDS AND ENDS: C Steven Stamkos' goal streak ended at six games. … Lorne and Lynne Wright, parents of rookie LW James Wright, flew in from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to see their son play in the NHL for the first time. "What can you say except it's been a dream," Lorne said. … C Vinny Lecavalier played his 800th NHL game. … Ds Matt Smaby and Paul Ranger (personal) were scratched.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Rick Tocchet demands intensity from Tampa Bay Lightning 11/03/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 4, 2009 12:32am]

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