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 wing Steve Downie gives and gets praise

TAMPA — Lightning RW Steve Downie simply glanced to his right to explain his play of late. There were his linemates, C Steven Stamkos and LW Marty St. Louis. "Two really good players," Downie said after Saturday morning's practice.

Yeah, but so, too, is Downie, who extended his career-best scoring streak to 10 games with an assist on St. Louis' first-period goal Saturday against Atlanta. He entered the game with five goals and seven assists in his previous nine games.

"Obviously having Marty and Stammer helps," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said, "but (Downie has) got to give himself credit. He's doing the stuff."

Tocchet said Downie, 22, has taken his game to another level in his second season in Tampa Bay for one simple reason: He's a tireless worker, getting on the ice 20 minutes before practice shooting and passing. "He's applied himself," Tocchet said.

"It's not a surprise to me; maybe to people who didn't know him," Stamkos said. "He's gotten a shot here, and he's taking advantage of the opportunity."

Downie spent last summer working out with Lightning strength and conditioning coach Chuck Lobe, and he may join Stamkos in the offseason and train with former Lightning player Gary Roberts, a renowned workout fanatic. Stamkos spent nearly seven days a week at Roberts' home in the Toronto area last summer and said he felt much stronger and in far better shape this season as a result.

Lineup changes: The Lightning recalled C Paul Szczechura from AHL Norfolk on Saturday, and he was in the lineup. He had played in 37 games for Tampa Bay (two goals, one assist). Also in the lineup was RW Brandon Bochenski, recalled from Norfolk on Tuesday but who didn't play against Philadelphia that night or at Washington on Thursday. The two teamed up on the third Lightning goal Saturday. Szczechura fed Bochenski, then crossed for the return pass, which he carried into the zone. He then blasted a long shot from the right side for his third score of the year.

Injury updates: D Andrej Meszaros, who took a shot to his left foot Thursday that left a large welt, said before the game he was okay to play.

"I can't really walk, but I can skate, so it's a good thing," he said, laughing. He was in the starting lineup.

Fellow D Matt Walker, out the previous two games with a lower-back injury, returned Saturday. His wife pointed out that he hadn't played since Feb. 14 because of the Olympic break and then his injury. "It was probably better I didn't know it was that long," he joked.

Odds and ends: Former Penguins star Mario Lemieux, one of the NHL's greatest players, was at the game and was quite impressed by Stamkos, who now has 40 goals. Tocchet said his one-time teammate told him: "Wow. This kid's a player." … New owner Jeff Vinik, at his first game since he closed the deal to buy the team, received a nice ovation midway through the opening period. … C Zenon Konopka (lower-body injury), LW Todd Fedoruk, who has seen limited time in recent games, and D Matt Smaby, who was benched after playing 7:32 Thursday, were scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning wing Steve Downie gives and gets praise 03/06/10 [Last modified: Sunday, March 7, 2010 12:11am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Orioles

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  3. Rays journal: Sergio Romo excited for fresh start in AL

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Sergio Romo was about to play catch with LHP Adam Kolarek before Monday's batting practice when he paused.

    RAMOS EXITS: Rays catcher Wilson Ramos clutches his head after being beaned by Ruben Tejada’s broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos leaves the game and receives six staples to close a laceration on his head.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    LHP Blake Snell stepped up when the Rays needed him to — and perhaps when he had to to keep his job — working a season-high seven plus innings. And it wasn't only that he got deep into the game, but how he did so, using his fastball to pound the strike zone.

  5. Urban Meyer says the Big Ten is now the equal of the SEC

    College

    CHICAGO — Ohio State coach Urban Meyer doesn't just believe the Big Ten has closed the gap with the more heralded SEC. He is convinced the race is a dead heat already.

    Ohio State’s Urban Meyer says the Big Ten East is as strong as the SEC East was when he coached UF to two national titles.