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)

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos sees time at wing during practice

BRANDON — It was difficult to tell Sunday if Lightning coach Guy Boucher was serious about giving C Steven Stamkos an assignment on right wing.

Nine players, including four forwards, missed practice at the Ice Sports Forum because of varying degrees of injury, so the line of C Dominic Moore between Stamkos and Marty St. Louis might have been out of necessity.

But Boucher stuck with the line while changing up others. And though he first said the line was because of the lack of bodies, he also said Moore "deserved" to play there because "he's been our best player the past two weeks."

Boucher did not say the move was to help get Stamkos out of a slump, in which he has one goal in 11 games. In fact, he said adding Moore to the line would help Stamkos and St. Louis defensively as both are minus-6 in their past six games.

"He's our best two-way player," Boucher said of Moore. "He's giving us some offense. He's given us defense. He's given us urgency."

"I don't think about any of that stuff," said Moore, who has two goals and three points in his past three games. "I just play."

But what if Stamkos, whose 41 goals still lead the league by seven, was moved to wing for tonight's Southeast showdown with the Capitals?

He played the position during the All-Star Game — and scored a goal he was quick to point out — and a little bit at the 2008 world junior championship.

"We'll see what happens," Stamkos said. "But with the defensive coverage we play — first guy back and closest guy goes to the puck — there's really no center and wing. So there's not much of an adjustment … maybe a little bit on breakouts."

Give Stamkos, 21, credit for facing his slump head on.

Other than his rookie season, he calls the past 11 games "my roughest stretch." He called his eight shots in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Canadiens "a positive" and said of his scoring touch, "It's going to come."

"I want to be counted on as someone who can create those offensive chances," he added. "You feel like you're not doing your part a little bit. It's tough. It's frustrating when you're not winning. It magnifies that on yourself as well."

Stamkos says he is not obsessing and tries to leave it at the rink.

"Usually, I'm home watching the highlights and stuff," he said. "Lately, I just go home and relax. I have a couple of buddies in town. They usually bring me some luck. We'll see."

HURTING: Expected out against the Capitals are defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron (back spasms) and Mike Lundin (abdomen) and forwards Steve Downie (ankle) and Ryan Malone (stomach).

Bergeron played Saturday after missing two games but had just 9:10 of ice time.

"We played him," Boucher said. "But looking back, we probably shouldn't have."

Those who did not practice for what the team called "body maintenance" but are expected to play were defensemen Victor Hedman, Pavel Kubina and Mattias Ohlund and forwards Nate Thompson and Dana Tyrell.

STARTING BLOCKS: Boucher doesn't want a repeat of Saturday, when Tampa Bay sleepwalked through the first period and fell behind 2-0.

"They didn't come to play," he said. "They didn't come to compete."

"We have to be honest with each and every one of us in our effort for 60 minutes," St. Louis said. "Individually, we have to bring our best from the get-go."

The Capitals offer an opportunity. They have been outscored 52-39 in the first period.

"It's urgency," C Vinny Lecavalier said. "We have to come out like I know we can, how our fans know we can — on top of teams, first on the puck, pucks on net. That's how we have to do it."

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos sees time at wing during practice 03/06/11 [Last modified: Sunday, March 6, 2011 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For starters: Souza returns to lineup



  2. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams


    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  3. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Steven Souza Jr., hugging Mallex Smith after Smith’s solo home run in the eighth inning, feels relief after tests are negative on his injured hip.