Tim Thomas wasn't quite sure when — it was coach Steve Ludzik's first season, he believes — but the Bruins' current No. 1 goalie spent part of a training camp with the Lightning before being sent to IHL Detroit, Tampa Bay's affiliate at the time.
"I stayed out of the line of fire," Thomas said of the 1999 camp.
What does he recall?
"I remember Vinny (Lecavalier) got into a fight with Alek Stojanov," Thomas said, referencing a lightly skilled 6-foot-4, 232-pounder. "Alek was a tough guy. I don't know if Vinny knew who he was or not. And Vinny was the aggressor.
"Alek was, like, 'I don't want to fight this guy.' But they already dropped the gloves, and Vinny hit him three or four times. Alek was, like, '(Forget) this, if I'm going to get hit,' and he decided to hit back."
Oren Koules runs around in some pretty high-end circles as a Hollywood producer. But it took his status as Lightning owner to get an audience with Bill Clinton.
The former president and his good friend, Sabres owner Tom Golisano, had dinner with Koules before Wednesday's game at HSBC Arena, something Koules said was "really cool."
Really funny, he said, was the reaction of players as Clinton addressed them before the game.
"The guys were going through their stretches, and we called them all into the room in a hurry. So they didn't know what to expect," Koules said. "It was funny to look around the room at the players' faces as Clinton talked about growing up in Arkansas, not knowing anything about hockey or even knowing anybody who skated."
Before he moved to the Tampa Bay area, rookie Steven Stamkos, 18, could not fathom eating sushi. Raw fish? Just the thought turned his stomach.
Never underestimate the effect of peer pressure.
"At the beginning of the year going out with the guys to restaurants," he said, "I tried it, and I liked it."
Stamkos said he doesn't go in for the real exotic stuff, but he doesn't limit himself to the relatively benign California roll, either.
"I like the fried stuff, the cooked rolls," he said. "I'm starting to try my fair share of stuff. … The guys ordered it. It was fresh. I enjoy it now."
5 questions F Paul Szczechura
What was it like to score your first NHL goal?
It's different. It's a feeling all its own.
What will you do with the puck?
I'll bring it back home to my mom's place with all my other stuff.
Are you one of those guys that keeps a lot of memorabilia?
I have a lot of stuff from my career so far.
Playing video poker.