Make us your home page
Instagram

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 coach Guy Boucher bemoans team's tendency to play down to competition

NEW YORK — Lightning coach Guy Boucher pointed out what he considers a disturbing trend with his players: playing to the competition.

Think about it, he said. Tampa Bay has lost twice to the Islanders, twice to the Panthers, to the Flames and the Oilers, teams that entered Thursday with a combined record of 46-68-14.

And even though the Lightning gained points in four of those games with regulation ties — including Wednesday's 2-1 overtime loss to the Islanders — eight points were left on the table. "It's a lack of urgency, period," Boucher said Thursday. "It's not taking the other team seriously, even though you want to. You don't feel threatened.

"Every game we've played up to now, almost, we feel like our backs are against a wall. That is the nature of the NHL. You feel every team can beat you, so you get in there and fight. But then you meet a team (the Islanders) that has won two in their last (23), and you lack that urgency. Human, yes, but I don't care. It's part of the maturity we need to have. If we're going to be a top-notch team, we can't have that."

Especially in a game in which a victory meant claiming first place in the Southeast Division. "We disrespected the opponent," Boucher said, "and disrespected the chance to advance."

RW Adam Hall agreed that Tampa Bay's "execution wasn't there as much as we'd like," but he also gave credit to the Islanders. "They're not a team playing like their record," he said. "They're tenacious."

Still, Hall said "You have to find ways to generate the emotions to get the job done."

Eight points are eight points.

"These one points here and there that you're losing, ask those teams who are looking for that point the last week of the season," Boucher said.

CONNOLLY HURT: RW Brett Connolly, drafted No. 6 overall in June, sustained an upper-body injury Tuesday playing for Canada against Sweden in a warmup for the world junior championship, which begins Sunday. He was held out Thursday against Finland as a precaution, Canada's TSN reported.

Tampa Bay spokesman Bill Wickett said the team was aware of the injury but declined further comment.

SOUNDS BAD: G Mike Smith said he thought the worst when he heard his left knee pop during Monday's morning skate after his skate was clipped by the skate of teammate Simon Gagne. So, Smith considers himself lucky he has only a mild sprain that needs two to three weeks of rest.

That said, the timing "couldn't be much worse," he said. Though Smith is 10-5-0, his 3.20 goals-against average and .893 save percentage are near the bottom of the league. In his past two games he is 2-0-0 with a 0.96 goals-against average and .961 save percentage.

"I'm happy it happened when I started to play well, and I know I can get back and pick up where I left off," he said.

ODDS AND ENDS: As per NHL rules, Tampa Bay will not skate Christmas Eve or Christmas, meaning it will not skate until the morning of Sunday's game at Atlanta. … LW Johan Harju was reassigned to AHL Norfolk. … D Matt Smaby was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher bemoans team's tendency to play down to competition 12/23/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 23, 2010 10:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Major-league bullpens get stretched as starters take a seat

    The Heater

    Mike Marshall led the majors in appearances in 1973, with 92 for the Montreal Expos. The next spring, having joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, Marshall met his new manager, Walter Alston.

  2. Bucs get first new video director in 29 years

    Blogs

    When the Bucs took to the practice field this week to start OTA practices, they did so with a new video director for the first time in 29 years.

    Bucs video director Dave Levy, shown during the 2003 season, worked under nine different head coaches in 29 seasons working for Tampa Bay.
  3. Rays set to activate Tommy Hunter from DL

    Blogs

    The Rays plan to activate RHP Tommy Hunter from the DL for Thursday's series finale against the Angels.

  4. Steven Souza Jr. snaps out of slump as Rays defeat Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — After Tuesday's shutout loss to the Angels, Steven Souza Jr. stood in front of his locker and talked about his need to contribute to the offense.

    Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jesus Sucre (45) hugs right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) in the dugout after his two run home run in the second inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017.