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. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  3. Rays journal: Rays tie franchise home run record

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — A major flaw in the Rays offense this season — and thus a major reason for their inconsistent play and losing record — has been too much reliance on the home run.

    Wilson Ramos points after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.

  5. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.