TAMPA — As abrupt as it was, D Kevin Quick admitted he was not ready last season for his assignment to AHL Norfolk.
His promotion last week from the Admirals to the Lightning has been much smoother.
"He's done really well," coach Rick Tocchet said. "He wasn't even on our radar screen. For him to give us some minutes is huge."
"It has," Quick said, "been quite the ride."
Quick, 20, entered Saturday averaging 12:53 of ice time in two games for a team whose blue line is thin because of injuries. His skating has been noticed as has his coolness with the puck.
Had things worked out as planned, though, Quick would be playing for the University of Michigan. But in February, the Buffalo, N.Y., native was dismissed from the team for stealing and using a teammate's credit card.
Quick's agent, Steve Bartlett, said his client is in a pretrial diversion program that will clean his record if he stays out of trouble during a year of probation.
"Every day, you wake up and you realize what you did," Quick said. "You kind of put that behind you and just take it day by day, think of hockey and do my best."
Quick, drafted 78th overall in 2006, was assigned to Norfolk after he left Michigan, a move he said was tough mentally: "And I wasn't playing well."
He was steady Tuesday against the Sharks, and Thursday against the Flyers, he impressed Tocchet with his decision-making with the puck, especially on a reverse pass behind the net.
"That's the stuff you're looking for, composure in a defenseman," Tocchet said. "When (a defenseman) does that, you know you have a good defenseman."
"It's amazing," Quick said of being in the NHL. "But it's hockey. You've got to take it as it comes and deal with what's thrown at you."
Stamkos scratched: Tocchet stuck with the plan to further the education of rookie F Steven Stamkos, making him a healthy scratch for the second time. He first sat in the 4-3 win at Anaheim on Jan. 9.
Before Saturday, the Lightning played five games in eight days. After Thursday's, Tocchet said Stamkos would use a three-day break to work on weights, film study and one-on-one instruction with assistant Wes Walz.
Stamkos, who has five goals and 12 assists while averaging 13:03 of ice time, took part in Saturday's morning skate then sat in the press box to take notes. He will share the notes with coaches as they review video.
Tocchet was asked if Stamkos could escape the tutoring sessions with improved play.
"Right now, we're just sticking with (the plan)," Tocchet said. "He has to get certain parts stronger. I'm pretty stuck on my ways right now. I think this is the best way for him to get to the next level."
Odds and ends: Tocchet said D Paul Ranger is day to day with an upper-body injury. "We're definitely not going to put him in a risky position," Tocchet said. "He's a big part of our team and our future." … Lightning G prospect Dustin Tokarski, who recently helped Canada win the world junior title, will attend Monday's game against Dallas and sign autographs for season-ticket holders on the patio of the CCM Club from 6 to 7 p.m.