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Tampa Bay Lightning's Dana Tyrell fighting for job in training camp

BRANDON — The fast-moving play during the Lightning's training camp scrimmage Saturday seemed to have passed Dana Tyrell by; right wing J.T. Wyman was gone with the puck and on the other side of the neutral zone.

But what seemed to be a hopeless defensive situation was exactly the kind of circumstance for which Tyrell trained so hard during the summer.

With a burst of speed on legs he said were strengthened by intense weight training, Tyrell not only overtook Wyman but separated him from the puck with a check along the boards at the Ice Sports Forum.

"He's relentless," coach Guy Boucher said. "He has the speed that we want. He has the relentlessness that we want."

What Tyrell doesn't have yet is a job.

The forward is in a weird situation. A full-timer with Tampa Bay last season, when as a rookie he had six goals and 15 points in 78 games while averaging 12:03 of ice time, Tyrell is in a battle to make the big club.

The field is crowded, too, with Mattias Ritola and Blair Jones, among others, in the mix.

That is why moments such as chasing down Wyman are so important.

"It doesn't feel strange at all," Tyrell, 22, said of not having a secured position. "I have to establish myself every year. Anybody can take anybody's job, so it's going to be a tough camp."

Nobody questions Tyrell's heart or what he brings to the table. He kills penalties and faces opponents' top offensive lines. He isn't afraid to get his nose dirty and is as willing to take a hit to make a play as he is to throw a check.

But those with whom he is competing can do those things as well. That is why Tyrell, 5 feet 11, 185 pounds, said he shunned long-distance running during his summer workout program in favor of more weight training to improve his already formidable speed.

"I tried to get more powerful and explosive," Tyrell said. "I came into camp in shape and fit and ready to go. I think I showed a little bit in the fitness testing (Friday), and I felt good on the ice."

"He looks strong. He looks fast," teammate Adam Hall said. "The way he helps this team is with his speed. When he gets in there and causes havoc on the forecheck, he can get around any (defenseman) in this league as good as anybody."

It's not all happy talk. Boucher said Tyrell must improve his poise with the puck to reduce mistakes when he is under pressure.

Tyrell, who last season missed 11 of the Lightning's 18 playoff games because of a broken foot, called the criticism fair but said he believes that is a matter of confidence and experience.

Saturday, Tyrell did all the things he does best. He also created a scoring chance for himself by capturing a puck off the side boards in the offensive zone. Tyrell tapped his stick on the ice in disappointment after goalie Pat Nagle stopped his wrist shot.

Even so, Boucher acknowledged Tyrell's effort.

"He came to make the team," the coach said. "I'm not surprised. That's the kind of person he is."

. fast facts

Lightning training camp

When: Today Practice, 10 a.m.; scrimmage, 11. Monday Practice, 10 a.m. Tuesday Practice, 10 a.m.; game at St. Louis, 8 p.m. Wednesday Practice, 10:30 a.m. (game group) and noon; game vs. Blues at Orlando, 7 p.m. (Remaining schedule to be announced.)

Where: Ice Sports Forum, 10222 Elizabeth Place, Brandon

Viewing: Free and open to the public. Parking is free but limited.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Dana Tyrell fighting for job in training camp 09/17/11 [Last modified: Saturday, September 17, 2011 11:37pm]

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