Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Steady role eludes Tom Pyatt

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Lightning coach Jon Cooper never misses an opportunity to praise RW Tom Pyatt.

Cooper says he loves Pyatt's versatility — that he can play center if needed, that he has won 50.3 percent of his faceoffs. Pyatt also has chipped in three goals and seven points, and takes a turn on the penalty kill while averaging just 11:27 of ice time.

But Pyatt cannot find a consistent place in the lineup and Saturday against the Sabres was scratched for the third time in five games and 19th time this season. Counting the two months he missed with a broken collarbone, Pyatt has played in just 23 games.

"It's tough," Pyatt said. "There are days you feel good, but it's tough to come to the rink sometimes. It's up and down. That's the way an NHL season is. It's never smooth sailing."

Pyatt, 5 feet 11, 188 pounds, said Cooper has told him he has done nothing wrong: "They tell me it's not my game."

And that makes his exclusion from the lineup that much more of a mystery.

"Tom Pyatt, he's been great. He fills holes for us in certain ways," Cooper said. "But on the other hand, he can be a certain fit against some teams, and we've got other guys who are a different fit against other teams."

Cooper hinted Pyatt might play today at Detroit, though Pyatt sounded as if he would believe it when it happened.

"It's frustrating," he said. "I just try to stay positive and be ready."

STICKING WITH IT: Cooper has kept rookie RW J.T. Brown in the lineup despite his 34-game goalless streak entering Saturday. "I'd be hard-pressed to say anybody has outworked J.T. Brown in a hockey game or done a lot of the dirty-work kind of things 'Brownie' does," Cooper said. "We're not measuring J.T. Brown in goals. … He makes other guys better. He's one of those guys with his work ethic and puck retrievals, and how he won't back down from anybody, his tenacity. He helps lines."

He helped Steven Stamkos score against Buffalo with a strong forecheck behind the goal line and by retrieving a puck he had passed to the captain.

"If you're not scoring, do something else, whether it's blocking shots, the penalty kill, forecheck hard," said Brown, who entered the game with four goals, 17 points in 53 games. "There's plenty of other things I'm trying to do instead of focusing on I'm not scoring."

HOMECOMING: RW Ryan Callahan, from nearby Rochester, N.Y., had about 20 family members and friends at the game. And though he has played in Buffalo many times before, he said it still is "fun and exciting." He also reiterated how comfortable he has been in Tampa since the March 5 trade from the Rangers for Marty St. Louis. "I'm extremely happy here," he said. "I couldn't have come to a better place."

ODDS AND ENDS: In a pregame ceremony, G Dominik Hasek was inducted into the Sabres Hall of Fame. … Lightning C Valtteri Filppula has an 11-game points streak (four goals, 11 assists), the league's longest active. … Forwards Richard Panik and Cody Kunyk, and defensemen Keith Aulie and Mark Barberio also were scratched.

Steady role eludes Tom Pyatt 03/29/14 [Last modified: Saturday, March 29, 2014 11:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. New Bucs player murals go up at Raymond James Stadium


    Each summer, it's a sign that training camp is soon to arrive at One Buc Place: the changing of the huge player murals on each corner of Raymond James Stadium.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has a corner mural at Raymond James Stadium for a third year in a row.
  2. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)


    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Jordan Spieth, right, comes from one back of Matt Kuchar, left, after 13, going birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par to win by 3.
  3. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  4. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  5. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)