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)

nuts & bolts

Tampa Bay Lightning Nuts & Bolts

Sweet spot

D Matt Smaby said he was a power-hitting first baseman/catcher in high school and even led his team in home runs as a junior before a broken wrist playing hockey as a senior ended his career on the diamond.

There is not much to compare between the sports, Smaby said, but there is this: Hitting a baseball with the sweet spot of the bat is like getting hold of a puck on a slap shot. "When you catch them pure, the (puck) and a baseball, it almost feels like you're hitting nothing," he said. "It's satisfying. You don't even have to check where it's going. You know. Even a slap shot, you know when you catch (the puck). You know where it's going."

This game is aces

It's not surprising that C Dominic Moore, growing up in Thornhill, Ontario, played tennis only in the summer. It's a bit more surprising that he turned it into part of his offseason training program.

"It's kind of the perfect sport for cross-training for hockey because of the lateral movement and the similar kind of athletic maneuvers," Moore said. "I love the sport as much as hockey and still watch it whenever I can, too."

His favorite players?

I used to be a huge (Andre) Agassi fan," Moore said. "I like (Rafael) Nadal, but Roger (Federer) is my favorite guy right now."

A snoozer

LW Mattias Ritola went to his first baseball game in the summer of 2005 shortly after he was drafted in the fourth round by the Red Wings. Sitting in a suite with his fellow Detroit draftees, the Swede said the game was difficult to follow. "I didn't get it at all," Ritola said. "They tried to explain why he was hitting there, why that guy was running there. I just didn't get it. I almost fell asleep."

Has he come to appreciate the game?

"Actually," he said, "no, not really."

Quote to note

"It's the best game in the world. There are so many variations. You have to think five, six turns ahead. Sometimes you lose your pawns and you're screwed and the other guy has got you, but there is a way out, and I love that. Everything happens as a result of you thinking about it or not thinking about it. You have total responsibility."

Lightning coach Guy Boucher, on chess

5 questions | LW Johan Harju

What do you like most about the U.S.?

The weather here. It's great.

How cold can it get in Sweden?

Minus-30 (Celsius), with about 1 meter (39 inches) of snow.

Do you watch much television?

Mostly sports. I'm trying to learn football a little bit.

What sports do you watch back home?

I miss soccer. In Europe soccer is really big.

Do you have an appreciation for baseball?

I don't think it's fun at all. I don't understand why it's so big.

Tampa Bay Lightning Nuts & Bolts 11/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, November 20, 2010 11:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Next up in Bucs renovations? A $20 million indoor practice facility


    Renderings of the Bucs' new indoor practice facility (Courtesy of the Bucs)
  2. Lightning re-signs Andrej Sustr to one-year, $1.95 million deal


    The Lightning locked up another piece of its blueline Monday, re-signing defenseman Andrej Sustr to a one-year, $1.95 million deal.

    Andrej Sustr 14 points in 80 games last season, a minus-10.
  3. John Calipari: Kevin Knox makes you shake your head and say 'Wow'


    Even though former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox left the USA Basketball U19 tryouts due to a hamstring injury, he still made quite an impression on coach John Calipari.

  4. How good is Florida Gators' Jim McElwain? We're about to find out


    The Gators' offense comes down to how head coach Jim McElwain handles the quarterback battle between Zaire and redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks. [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]
  5. Officially official: Malik Zaire, Jake Fruhmorgen join Florida Gators


    It's finally, officially official: Malik Zaire has joined the Florida Gators.