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Rookie Brett Connolly getting tough love from Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher

TAMPA — Rookie Brett Connolly is getting some tough love from Lightning coach Guy Boucher, who admitted, "I am being tough on him."

Consider Thursday's 4-1 victory over the Penguins, in which Connolly scored the winning goal. Despite that, the right wing was benched for most of the game and had a season-low 6 minutes, 8 seconds of ice time.

"Defensively, he's got to do better," Boucher said. "He's 19 years old, but after two months (of the season) he's got to be accountable, same as the other players."

Boucher said Connolly's defensive mistake led to Pittsburgh's goal, and his one-on-one play and positioning need to be addressed.

"As an organization, we have a choice," Boucher said. "We can let him go and play offense and reap the negative aspects of that three or four years down the road, or we take care of it now."

Connolly, who played better Saturday in a 4-2 loss to the Devils and had 12:38 of ice time, knows he needs work. "In order for me to be a contributor, I have to be better on the defensive side of the rink, too," he said. "I'm working on it every day in practice."

He also has video sessions with Boucher and assistants Dan Lacroix and Marty Raymond. "It's all for me to get better and improve," Connolly said.

Said Boucher: "There's no more, 'You're a kid, you can make all those mistakes.' You can't, period."

ANOTHER STEP: D Mattias Ohlund, who has not played a regular-season game, skated with the team for the first time since his Oct. 11 knee surgeries.

"It felt okay," Ohlund said. "It's a first step. There's a ways to go."

There is no official timetable for Ohlund's return, but Boucher said it could be as soon as a week or two. "It's a mental battle to not look too far ahead," Ohlund said. "But (Saturday) was a good day."

MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: F Tom Pyatt (upper body) did not play after the first period. … LW Ryan Malone (upper body), back after missing four games, played just 9:22 and only two shifts in the third. "He wasn't skating," Boucher said. "He wasn't in game shape."

CASHMAN OKAY: Former Lightning assistant Wayne Cashman is recuperating at his Ocala home after surgery Tuesday to repair a substantial hernia. "I'm feeling better every day," he said. "I have to force myself to rest for a couple of weeks, and I'll be fine."

Cashman, 66, had the four-hour procedure at Ocala's Munroe Regional Medical Center to repair an injury with roots in a colon resection he had last year. Cashman said his stomach muscle, cut for the resection, "never got strong enough to hold my stomach, and it just split. They had to put a screen on the front of my stomach."

Cashman, who played 17 seasons with the Bruins, was a Tampa Bay assistant from 1992-96 and also had assistant jobs with the Sharks, Flyers (he was their head coach for 61 games in 1997-98) and Bruins.

"It's just a matter of rest now," Cashman said of his surgery, "and letting it heal."

ODDS AND ENDS: The Devils' two power-play goals were one fewer than they had on the road all season. … F Blair Jones and D Bruno Gervais were scratched.

Rookie Brett Connolly getting tough love from Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher 11/19/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 19, 2011 11:59pm]
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