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)

Lightning notebook

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Smaby keeps improving and impressing interim coach Rick Tocchet

WASHINGTON — Because Matt Smaby was recalled from AHL Norfolk on Saturday on an emergency basis after an injury to Lukas Krajicek, the defenseman knows he will be headed back to the minors.

It will be Smaby's second round-trip this season, but coach Rick Tocchet said every time he sees Smaby, he sees a better player.

"The last time he went down, we told him to work on certain parts of his game, and I think he has," Tocchet said Thursday. "He doesn't look out of place.

"He's a really good shot blocker and probably one of the better defensive hitting guys. He eliminates the man. If he works on his puck-handling, he can be a very reliable defenseman in the NHL."

Despite the up-arrow on his game, Smaby, 24, a 6-foot-5, 227-pounder, said the back-and-forth can be difficult.

"If you let your emotions get involved, it can be because it is a roller-coaster ride," he said. "But as long as I'm here, it's a good thing for me, no matter how long it lasts."

The 41st pick of the 2003 draft entered Thursday with one assist in four games, an even plus-minus, 15 hits and an average 12:12 of ice time; though in the first two games of this recall, Smaby averaged 14:22, including a season-high 15:47 Tuesday against the Canadiens.

"Right now he's done well for us," Tocchet said. "He just has to learn to be a little more patient with the puck."

OLIE HEALING: Backup G Olie Kolzig, out for seven games with an upper-body injury, skated and said he plans to be back Thursday at Phoenix.

HARD HITTING: Montreal's Alex Tanguay sustained what is believed to be a separated shoulder from a clean check by Tampa Bay RW Evgeny Artyukhin. The hit from the 6-5, 254-pound freight train knocked free a pane of glass at the St. Pete Times Forum. Tocchet called Artyukhin "a menace," but in a good way. "Guys don't want to go back for the puck. He has to play like that consistently, and he's going to get more ice time."

OVECHKIN OVATION: Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin is the game's best player, Tocchet said. "He just doesn't sit on the outside and take one-timers. He's in front of the net. He's hitting. He's a special player because he's an aggressive player. That's why I think he's the best player."

ODDS AND ENDS: The band Danko Jones will play on the Chrysler/Jeep Plaza after Saturday's game with the Hurricanes at the Times Forum. The concert is free with a game ticket. … F Ryan Craig also was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Smaby keeps improving and impressing interim coach Rick Tocchet 01/01/09 [Last modified: Friday, January 2, 2009 10:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. An annotated look at week 2 of the Bucs on 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    We're back for another episode of The Annotated Hard Knocks, trying to find behind-the-scenes insights and things you might have missed in Tuesday's second episode of "Hard Knocks," following the Bucs in …

    As the crowd recognized him and got loud, Jameis Winston jumped up and down in celebration. [GREG AUMAN | Times]
  2. Why Noah Spence could be the Bucs' X-factor

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — Noah Spence crouched in a four-point stance, bending low like a sprinter in starting blocks. At the snap, he took one step to his right, startling Jaguars left tackle Josh Wells with his explosiveness. Wells went for the move and Spence countered with an inside swim move, flying past Wells' right …

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Noah Spence (57) participates in training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 

  3. Lefty quarterback's task? Make sure nothing's lost in translation

    College

    GAINESVILLE — When Florida receiver Brandon Powell first met new quarterback Malik Zaire this summer, he was struck by the Notre Dame grad transfer's enthusiasm and outgoing personality.

    Florida quarterback Malik Zaire talks with the press during the NCAA college football team's media day in Gainesville. Zaire is a lefty quarterback, just like Tim Tebow. (Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun via AP, File)
  4. Nikita Kucherov in a wide-ranging Q&A

    Blogs

    While Lightning wing Nikita Kucherov has a tendency to be quiet around the media, he's a Russian with a variety of interests and a passionate hockey mind.

    Nikita Kucherov recently did a Q&A with Russia's Sovsport.ru, in which he addressed an array of topics.
  5. Steven Souza's two passions collide in charity fantasy football event

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Steven Souza knows a thing or two about football.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after throwing the ceremonial first pitch of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 23, 2017.