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 has rough practice after day of rest

EDMONTON — When six bodies are in close corners and the drill is about battling for the puck, team hierarchy goes out the window.

So it was for the Lightning during Thursday's practice at Rexall Place as Steven Stamkos took a solid elbow in the side of the head from defenseman Randy Jones, who knocked the star center's stick out of his hands and purposefully pushed it away.

"It's what it's part of," Jones said later. "You're not out there hurting each other or to injure guys, but you're going to be battling for the puck because that's what it takes in a game."

In other words, playtime for the Lightning was over after spending Wednesday in the mountain town of Banff, where hockey, for the most part, was the last thing on the players' minds.

There were trips to the hotel spa and the outdoor hot springs, a gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain to take in the snow-shrouded view from about 7,500 feet and a team dinner as the stench of Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Flames washed away.

"I had never been to a place like that," defenseman Victor Hedman said. "We have ski resorts (in his native Sweden) but nothing compared to that. It was beautiful."

As for Guy Boucher, the team could have been in Death Valley. The coach said he considered staying in Calgary while his players bused 65 miles west because he planned to hunker down in his hotel room anyway, without distractions, deconstructing video and planning his reaction to the poorly played game.

"So besides one hour to see what the spa looks like, the rest of the time I went to eat, had a talk with my assistants and stayed in my room," Boucher said.

He did look outside at "a few mountains" but looked harder at the video of the Calgary game.

"Their minds weren't there," Boucher said of his players. "Their legs weren't there. They needed to be reminded of a few things, and work ethic was one of them. Battle was the other, and structure. We didn't have any of those in that game."

But the reprimand could wait. The day off was planned. It was not a time to be a Grinch, though Tampa Bay is 2-3-1 in its past six while being outscored 30-16.

"Besides," Boucher said, "I don't think it would have done any good to speak to them (Wednesday). I'm much smarter in my comments (Thursday)."

A severe practice did more of the talking as a net was set up at the bottom of a faceoff circle facing a corner. A puck was thrown out and, three-on-three, players tried to score on the goalies.

How rough was it out there? An observer associated with the Oilers, whom the Lightning faces tonight, said, "You never see that during the season."

"Just getting back to basics, to what we do well," left wing Simon Gagne said. "Tough skating, a tough practice; it's something sometimes you need to bring back your work ethic."

"It showed how soft we were and how undisciplined we were about sticking to the game plan and just battling and doing the things you need to do in games," Jones said. "It's proven what you do in practice and the work ethic you have in practice leads over to games. That was the message we tried to get across."

The elbow to Stamkos' head was just part of the process.

NOTES: Left wing Mattias Ritola was held out of practice because his Meniere's disease, which causes dizziness and ringing in his right ear, acted up. … The Lightning acquired center Levi Nelson from the Bruins for minor-league left wing Juraj Simek. Nelson, 22, assigned to AHL Norfolk, had four goals and seven points with 19 penalty minutes in 14 games with AHL Providence.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Tampa Bay Lightning has rough practice after day of rest 12/09/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 9, 2010 11:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis


    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  2. Florida softball returns to World Series; FSU baseball in ACC title game


    GAINESVILLE — Florida defeated Alabama 2-1 Saturday to win the deciding Game 3 of their softball Super Region, putting the Gators in the Women's College World Series for the eighth time in program history.

    ’NOLE POWER: FSU’s Dylan Busby, right, is congratulated by teammate Taylor Walls after Busby’s homer against Duke.
  3. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title


    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  4. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  5. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …