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 coaches work to keep players focused in practice at end of miserable season

BOSTON — Assistant coach Wes Walz ran the Lightning's practice Wednesday at Boston University with a simple mandate.

"Bust your (rear ends) all the way up the ice," he yelled.

It's a reminder that at this time of year is appropriate.

With five games left in a miserable season whose only intrigue left is draft position, Tampa Bay's players see golf courses in their future. And though not all have checked out, coach Rick Tocchet said the level of "compete" in the past two games made it obvious some are playing out the string.

In that context, what chance was there for a committed effort during a workout two days before the next game?

"You're trying to get guys to play the right way and keep their focus, and if you don't have a lot of players doing that, it's tough," Tocchet said. "You've got to keep plugging away. If a guy doesn't want to do it and is not competing, at this stage of the season there's really not much you can do other than make his life miserable for two weeks."

One way to keep things fresh is for the dominant voices to take a break, and with Walz in charge, Tocchet and associate coach Mike Sullivan mostly watched from the side boards.

The workout had a back-to-basics theme: skating, passing, getting pucks deep.

Players skated the length of the rink, passing pucks back and forth. They rotated inside the blue line, gave a pass, took a pass and made a shot.

There was a tip drill, two-on-twos and two sets of sprints in which players skated the length of the rink three times.

"It never ends," wing Adam Hall said. "Every day you're always trying to accomplish something."

Wednesday's objective?

"Get some conditioning, get your work in, a detail kind of practice," Hall said.

For right wing Marty St. Louis, it was simpler: "Get a sweat."

Either way, forward Ryan Craig said, "You can't just put in your time. It's work. We're just trying to reiterate the basic stuff so you can win hockey games."

With Tampa Bay on a 1-4-3 streak, that hasn't happened much lately.

Even so, Tocchet said, "You have to get rejuvenated every day and come to work for something. If you're looking at the process, to win something, it's a long journey. Maybe we have to take our licks now to achieve that goal."

RESTING: Defensemen Lukas Krajicek, Matt Smaby and Richard Petiot, and center Vinny Lecavalier sat out for "body maintenance."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com

Tampa Bay Lightning coaches work to keep players focused in practice at end of miserable season 04/01/09 [Last modified: Thursday, April 2, 2009 6:32am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. College World Series: Gators, LSU face off in all-SEC finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — The matchup for the College World Series finals bolsters the case for those who say the best baseball in the land is played in the SEC.

    Florida’s Brady Singer, delivering during a CWS win over Louisville last week, is scheduled to start tonight against LSU.
  2. Jones: Fox Sports Sun shows depth in Rays coverage

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best coverage

    Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) makes a run home for a score in the in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  3. Brian Boyle says returning to Lightning a 'huge option'

    Blogs

    As former Lightning forward Brian Boyle approaches free agency this week, he said he's trying to stay busy.

    Former Tampa Bay Lightning player center Brian Boyle (24), on the ice during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on March 16, 2017.
  4. Rays journal: Blake Snell to rejoin rotation, Erasmo Ramirez heads to bullpen

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — LHP Blake Snell is rejoining the Rays' rotation, but the move has as much to do with helping the bullpen as it does with Snell's improvement during his time at Triple-A Durham.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (30) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday, June 21, 2017 in St. Petersburg.
  5. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.