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Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan Malone says no regrets on leaving Pittsburgh Penguins before last season's Stanley Cup run

Ryan Malone left Pittsburgh for the Lightning as a free agent after the Penguins’ 2008 Stanley Cup final appearance.


Ryan Malone left Pittsburgh for the Lightning as a free agent after the Penguins’ 2008 Stanley Cup final appearance.

PITTSBURGH — There is no second-guessing for Ryan Malone, no what-ifs.

The left wing, who left the Penguins after the 2007-08 season to sign a seven-year, $31.5 million contract with the Lightning, said he watched every game as his former teammates won last season's Stanley Cup.

And he was thrilled.

"It was fun to watch, and being from Pittsburgh, I'll always be a fan," Malone said Saturday.

Did he ever rethink his decision to leave?

"No, I didn't really," he said. "It was a close family here, and it was nice, but no regrets or anything. It's part of the business."

Malone, who has a team-best six goals, said a summer without playoffs had advantages. It gave him time to heal from a broken right hand, and it made him realize how much the postseason means.

"Obviously, you'd rather be in the playoffs," he said. "It makes you train harder. I'm real hungry to get back there. I want to get another taste of it. Even if it's for a round, you want to get in there and see what happens."

As for what happened to the Penguins last season, Malone said, "It was nice to see the guys get the job done."

Downie's assignment: The first time Steve Downie played on Vinny Lecavalier's line, the right wing seemed more intent on feeding the center and LW Alex Tanguay than playing his own straight-ahead game.

Back on the line against the Penguins, Downie was told by coach Rick Tocchet to stop worrying about his linemates.

"Downs has to have the puck himself," Tocchet said. "I told him, 'You play your game. Let them adjust to you. You don't have to adjust to them.' "

Message sent: No significant changes were made to the power play despite allowing three short-handed goals in two previous games.

"You've got to give them a chance to come back," Tocchet said. "You don't want to make changes just to make changes. I talked to the key players, and they know they have to get better."

That includes rookie D Victor Hedman, who has been shaky with the puck at the blue line. Even five-on-five he has been caught too deep in the offensive zone, resulting in odd-man breaks.

"He's gotten up in the play a little too much," Tocchet said. "I love it that he wants to be involved in plays. I don't want to take that away from him. We just have to settle him down."

Practice: With just four games the next two weeks, Tocchet said he is looking forward to an "extended training camp."

"We didn't have much practice time in camp," Tocchet said, referring to the five-game, seven-day road trip at the end of September. "We're going to practice a lot. We're going to have good practices, good skating practices."

Tampa Bay did the same in January during a three-day break and went on a 6-3-0 streak.

"I think this team needs repetition," Tocchet said.

Odds and ends: To avoid a potential conflict with the World Series, the start of the Nov. 2 game with the Flyers in Philadelphia has been changed to 5 p.m. … D Lukas Krajicek and LW Todd Fedoruk were scratched as Tampa Bay went with seven defensemen. … The Penguins have sold out 121 consecutive games.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Ryan Malone says no regrets on leaving Pittsburgh Penguins before last season's Stanley Cup run 10/17/09 [Last modified: Sunday, October 18, 2009 12:20am]
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