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Tampa Bay Lightning players ready to 'start from scratch'

BRANDON — Perhaps it was a coincidence. Perhaps Lightning coach Guy Boucher already planted a seed.

Either way, it was interesting Friday to hear several players say Tampa Bay must "start from scratch" this season after falling one win short in 2010-11 of reaching the Stanley Cup final.

"We're at the starting line like everybody else," W Marty St. Louis said. "It's a race to the finish, and we're all even at the start of the year no matter what we did before."

What the Lightning did was push the eventual Stanley Cup champion Bruins to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. It also returns a roster with relatively little turnover.

Even so, D Mattias Ohlund said, "We're going to have to start from scratch. Regardless of how you finished last year, it comes down to preparation and hard work and how you jell together."

Though Boucher said, "I wouldn't say we're starting from scratch because we have already built a culture, and players have that vision in mind," he added, "The team we had at the end of (last season) was not the one we had at the beginning. That's the end of a long process."

CAUTION: W Ryan Malone (shoulder surgery) said he is cleared for contact but as a precaution likely will not play in scrimmages today and Sunday.

COACH SPEAK: What does Boucher want to see in the scrimmages?

"Our vets not acting like vets," he said. "There are spots they need to keep and gain their ice time as much as the youngsters. So, I don't want to see any vets floating around waiting for this training camp to be over."

GOOD HAIR DAY: Steven Stamkos said he will keep his longer blond locks, with perhaps "just a little trim."

The center kept his hair short last season and joked after he signed an endorsement deal with Garnier Fructis, one of Canada's leading hair care brands, he didn't have the hair to pull it off.

Stamkos didn't say if the deal has anything to do with his changing hair style, but he said teammates seem to like the look.

"It looks really good when I put some product in it," he said, laughing.

ODDS AND ENDS: The camp roster was down to 56 after forwards Seth Griffith and Gabriel Desjardins were returned to their junior teams. … The Lightning wanted to see Russian D Nikita Nesterov in camp. But the highly regarded 2011 fifth-round draft pick did not get permission from his KHL team in Chelyabinsk to play for Tri-City of the junior Western league, said Al Murray, Tampa Bay's director of amateur scouting.

Tampa Bay Lightning players ready to 'start from scratch' 09/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 10:16pm]
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