Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis gets game to build on in return from facial factures

DENVER — When he suffered scary facial injuries from being hit by a puck Dec. 8, not even Marty St. Louis expected to be playing less than two weeks later.

But the Lightning right wing was happy to be back on the ice, even though it came in a 7-2 loss to San Jose on Wednesday.

"Once it happened, if you would have told me 12, 13 days after I'd be considering playing, I would have paid for that," St. Louis said.

He made an immediate impact Wednesday, scoring a goal and playing more than 20 minutes against the Sharks while wearing a full face cage.

It's a piece of equipment he says takes time to get used to.

"It's definitely an adjustment," he said. "You don't see the ice like you would without it, so I have to get used to it. I know I wore (a visor) in college, but that was 14, 15 years ago."

Notching his 10th goal of the season helped him get more comfortable with the helmet cage.

"It helped my own personal game, feeling confident," he said. "You get a scoring chance, you want to bury it, you want to be opportunistic, and I was on that play. It's something to build on personally."

TOUGH LOSS: D Pavel Kubina, 12 years old when the Velvet Revolution took place in his native Czechoslovakia, remembers the man who is best remembered for helping to topple communism in the country.

Vaclav Havel, the dissident poet and playwright who became president of Czechoslovakia from 1989-92 and then the first president of the Czech Republic from 1993-2002, died Sunday at age 75.

Kubina was saddened by Havel's passing.

"He was the guy who started everything for a free country," said Kubina, 34. "I never had a chance to meet him, but he was amazing. He's done so much for our country."

Kubina was moved by the show of respect around the world for Havel after his death. Leaders of several countries went to the Czech Republic to pay their respects, including former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"You see all the presidents flying to Czech the last couple of days," Kubina said. "(Havel) had a lot of friends and a lot of people who respect him. It's a sad loss for the country. This was a great man."

GARON AGAIN: Mathieu Garon was back in net Friday against the Avalanche, two nights after surrendering three goals in the first 6:21 against San Jose. Coach Guy Boucher didn't blame his goaltender for Wednesday's loss.

"He was left by himself, so I'm giving him a chance to get his game back," Boucher said. "That was one of our worst games of the year, if not our worst game. That's pretty unfair to take a goalie out and blame him."

TIP-INS: RW J.T. Wyman replaced injured Ryan Shannon (lower body) in the lineup against the Avalanche. Wyman hadn't played an NHL game since Nov. 28, 2009, when he was with Montreal. … C Nate Thompson (lower-body injury) skated alone in the morning. He is out until after Christmas. … D Evan Oberg was reassigned to AHL Norfolk.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Marty St. Louis gets game to build on in return from facial factures 12/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 24, 2011 12:00am]

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