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 interim coach Rick Tocchet says team can still make playoffs

TAMPA — Coach Rick Tocchet insisted the Lightning, with 56 games remaining, still can make a run at the Southeast lead.

"It's a ton of games left," he said before the Lightning lost to the Sabres on Saturday and fell 13 points behind the division-leading Capitals. "We can't keep saying that and dropping games, but there's a lot of time left. If we think about January and February and we have to score goals, you defeat yourself. If we do short-term goals, in the long run, it's going to help our team."

How to break a 2-9-5 funk? Change a mind-set, Tocchet said: "We have the mentality, 'What bad is going to happen?' Is it going to be a bad call? Is it going to be a bad goal? If we have that mentality, you're on your heels. I want our players to be on their toes, go, go. Don't worry about things you can't control. You can control your game."

Despite a 1-5-4 record under Tocchet, general manager Brian Lawton said, "I'm very pleased with the amount of effort the team is giving on a nightly basis. … I'm very comfortable the coaches are doing a good job."

He agreed there is time to turn things around.

"What Rick is telling you is he wears his heart on his sleeve, and that's what he believes, and the players can hear that and feel that," Lawton said.

KOLZIG ON BOARD: Tocchet said he will lean on G Mike Smith even more. It is possible Smith, who has played 20 of 26 games, will start throughout a four-game, seven-day road trip.

Olaf Kolzig, 38, who signed a one-year deal after 16 seasons with the Capitals, said he gets it.

"Smitty has taken the ball and run with it. He's been exceptional," Kolzig said. "I'd hate to see where we'd be if he hadn't played the way he has."

Kolzig, 1-4-1 with a 4.11 goals-against average and an .887 save percentage, said he will be as supportive as he can. As for his future, he said he wants to stick with the Lightning.

"I have come to grips with my role," Kolzig said. "My family enjoys it here, and if I do go somewhere else, my family wouldn't be coming with me, and to me that's not an option. Come the trade deadline, we'll see, but right now, I have no desire to go anyplace else."

HEARING AVERY: D Marek Malik was a teammate of Sean Avery with the Rangers and said he has "no problem" with the now-Stars' problem child, suspended six games by the league for vulgar remarks about former girlfriends, specifically actor Elisha Cuthbert.

"That's his personality," Malik said. "He likes to be in the spotlight and on the edge. I don't have a problem with him at all."

Malik said Avery's description of Cuthbert "was not a good line to say" in front of reporters.

"I'm old-school," he said. "I like to keep that stuff in the locker room. But that's him. To me, he was an honest player. Anything you wanted to discuss was right up front."

ODDS AND ENDS: Paul Ranger's goal was only the fourth by a Tampa Bay defenseman and first since Nov. 18. … RW Marty St. Louis was plus-3. … Tocchet said C Chris Gratton has an ankle injury, not a knee as was believed, and LW Matt Pettinger (knee) could be ready next week. … W Adam Hall, D Mike Lundin, LW Gary Roberts (groin) and LW David Koci (hand) were scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet says team can still make playoffs 12/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 11:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Luke Del Rio regains UF starting job, for now

    College

    GAINESVILLE — Luke Del Rio is once again the starting quarterback for No. 21 Florida.

    Luke Del Rio provided a needed spark when he replaced starter Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida past Kentucky.
  2. Four questions the Lightning still has to answer

    Lightning Strikes

    FORT LAUDERDALE — The Lightning made its biggest round of cuts Monday, with some of the big-named prospects heading out.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos (91) looks on from the bench during a shift change at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17). In background on right is Nikita Kucherov (86). DIRK SHADD   |   Times  

  3. Nine Florida football players, 62 felony complaints in fraud scandal

    College

    GAINESVILLE — The fraud scandal that has engulfed the University of Florida's nationally ranked football team for weeks exploded Monday with the first detailed accounts of criminal accusations that threaten to derail the Gators' season.

    Florida Gators wide receiver Antonio Callaway (81) runs the ball during the Outback Bowl in January at Raymond James Stadium. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Where Rays shortstop Matt Duffy's lost season leads

    The Heater

    BRADENTON — In a perfect world, Matt Duffy would have been in New York on Monday with his Rays teammates enjoying the final off day of the year. Instead, he was on Field 4 at Pirate City on a sweltering afternoon, trying to restart his season.

    Rays shortstop Matt Duffy plays in his first game (since rehab was aborted) with the club's instructional league on Monday at the Pirate City baseball field and spring training complex in Bradenton [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. Vinny Lecavalier's jersey retirement will be another classic Vinny moment

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — He was the face of the franchise. He was taken first overall in the 1998 NHL Draft by a franchise at the bottom. Art Williams, the nutty Tampa Bay Lightning owner at the time, proclaimed the 18-year-old from Ile Bizard, a Montreal borough, "the Michael Jordan of hockey."

    Vincent Lecavalier makes a break for the net while playing an exhibition game on Sunday (9/24/17) with the 2017 U.S. Women???‚??„?s National Team at Amalie Arena in Tampa. Lecavalier was the captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the 2000???‚??€œ2001 season and between the 2008???‚??€œ2013 and spent his first 14 NHL seasons with the Tampa Bay Lightning before signing with the Philadelphia Flyers.