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 defenseman Matt Smaby frustrated but patient while waiting for playing time

Defenseman Matt Smaby hasn’t played in the regular season. “Some guys (are) ahead of him,” coach Rick Tocchet says.

Getty Images

Defenseman Matt Smaby hasn’t played in the regular season. “Some guys (are) ahead of him,” coach Rick Tocchet says.

MONTREAL — D Victor Hedman is out with a concussion, D Paul Ranger is away dealing with a personal matter, and still Matt Smaby can't get in a game.

The defenseman has yet to play this season; that's frustrating for him given how last season he bailed out the team with few blue-line options.

"It's tough," said Smaby, who played several months with a broken foot. "It's kind of a logjam on defense right now. I'm just waiting for an opportunity and taking advantage of it when it's there.

"I showed that I can play last year and make a difference in a game. It's frustrating because I know I can play."

Coach Rick Tocchet feels Smaby's pain, and the two spoke during Saturday's skate.

"Life's not fair right now for him," Tocchet said.

"Should he be in? Yeah, he should be playing some games. But there are some guys ahead of him. We were winning some games, and I didn't want to break up those six guys. But he does add something, and he said he would be ready to go, but I have to get him in the lineup."

With Hedman out Saturday against Montreal, there seemed to be a chance. But Tocchet went with Kurtis Foster, scratched in the three previous games and whom Tocchet said needs to be more physically assertive.

Smaby, 25, with a new two-year deal, said he would have to approve a second conditioning assignment at AHL Norfolk (he had a two-week stint last month) and added he is not at the point where he has asked to be traded.

"The nice part is it's still early," he said, "but at the end of the day, I want to play."

Frustrating drought: Marty St. Louis has zero goals and is minus-5 in his past 10 games. His eight assists take the edge off, but the right wing admits to being frustrated.

"Right now I'm just doing enough, and that's not good enough," he said before the game. "I have to bring more. I thought (Thursday's) Ottawa game was a good building point for me. I felt I attacked and went to the net with the puck. It's probably the best I've felt mentally on the ice the past five or six games, and I'm looking to carry that into (Saturday) night."

Tocchet said he is not worried about the team "fireplug."

"Marty is one of those guys, he does so much more," Tocchet said. "If he goes nine games, at least he plays good defense. He's set up some guys on big goals. He's a fireplug. He keeps going out there hard. It's the guys that, when they don't score, they shut down other parts of their game that you can't have. Marty doesn't really do that."

Trade winds: Oilers president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe attended his fourth straight Lightning game. Jim Hammett, Tampa Bay's director of player personnel, also was present. Edmonton is in the market for a defenseman, of which the Lightning has nine.

Odds and ends: Tocchet said he exchanged text messages with Ranger but offered no details about why the defenseman was granted an extended leave of absence, though he said he is sure Ranger wants to return to the team. … With his goal Saturday, W Alex Tanguay has scored against every NHL team. … An assist gave C Jeff Halpern his 300th point. … C Vinny Lecavalier has laryngitis. … LW Todd Fedoruk, who played just 12:40 combined in two previous games, was scratched. W Drew Miller, scratched against the Senators, was in the lineup.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Smaby frustrated but patient while waiting for playing time 11/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 7, 2009 11:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays make Hechavarria trade official

    Blogs

    Here is the release from the team ...

     

  2. Jones: Will Tampa Bay hit a Hall of Fame dry spell now?

    Lightning Strikes

    Marty St. Louis may lack the Hall of Fame stats, but two scoring titles, an MVP award and clutch goals should count for a lot. (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  3. Scotty Bowman says 'it's about time' Andreychuk got HOF call

    Blogs

    For Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman, Dave Andreychuk finally being part of a Hall of Fame class is especially gratifying.

    Scotty Bowman drafted Dave Andreychuk in the first round (16th overall) in 1982 and coached him the first five seasons of his career.
  4. Dave Andreychuk going into Hall of Fame (w/photo gallery)

    Blogs

    Dave Andreychuk said Monday began "business as usual."

    Dave Andreychuk battles Calgary's Andrew Ference during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
  5. UPDATE: Rays finalizing deal to get SS Hechavarria for 2 minor-leaguers

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 4:27: In making the deal, the Rays add an elite-level defender to an infield that could use the help. But it also raises a number of questions, such as will they now move Tim Beckham to 2B? Does this mean Matt Duffy is not coming back this season? Is Daniel Robertson or Taylor Featherston going to …

    Adeiny Hechavarria is a two-time Gold Glove finalist who could help settle the Rays sometimes leaky infield defense.