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)

Tom Pyatt a loser in Lightning numbers game

Center Tom Pyatt celebrates his first goal of the season Feb. 8 against the Red Wings. He has been a healthy scratch in 22 of 46 games for which he has been available (he missed time with a broken collarbone). “It’s not the season I envisioned,” he says.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Center Tom Pyatt celebrates his first goal of the season Feb. 8 against the Red Wings. He has been a healthy scratch in 22 of 46 games for which he has been available (he missed time with a broken collarbone). “It’s not the season I envisioned,” he says.

TAMPA — Tom Pyatt said before Saturday's game with the Stars at the Tampa Bay Times Forum that he believed he was going to play.

"As far as I know," the Lightning forward said after the morning skate.

Instead, Pyatt was a healthy scratch, another disappointment during a season in which all he really has known is frustration.

"It's not the year I wanted to have," Pyatt said. "It's not the season I envisioned."

Pyatt, 27, has played just 24 of Tampa Bay's 78 games. Part of that is understandable; he missed 32 games from Oct. 10 through Dec. 19 because of a broken collarbone.

But part of Pyatt's absence from the lineup is a bit of a mystery. A healthy scratch in 22 of the 46 games in which he has been available — and in six of the past nine — he has not heard a discouraging word from the coaches.

In fact, associate coach Rick Bowness said, "He's played very well. He's done what we've asked him to do. He's taken faceoffs. He's played wing. He's killed penalties. Has he played his way out of the lineup? No, he hasn't."

Pyatt has three goals and seven points, is an even plus-minus and has won 50.3 percent of his faceoffs, not bad considering that his intermittent play and smallish 11:23 of average ice time does not allow him to find any kind of rhythm.

This is a player who in 2011-12 had 12 goals in 74 games. He had eight goals in 43 games in lockout-shortened 2012-13. Extrapolate that over a full 82-game schedule and Pyatt gets 15.

"You're up and down. Your excitement is up and down, your enthusiasm," Pyatt said. "You want to play your best, but when you're in and out, it makes it tough sometimes. But that's the way it is. When you get the call, you've just got to do your best, to get pumped up and play well."

"It's such a tough situation," captain Steven Stamkos said. "There's always guys on the team who have to go through that way. What makes it even tougher in this situation is the quality of the person that he is, his work ethic and his skill."

So what is it? What has kept Pyatt out of the lineup?

At 5 feet 11, 188 pounds, he is not big, but he's not out of place on a team with six forwards under 6 feet.

His ability, desire, speed? No.

"It's a numbers game," Bowness said. "He sits because of the numbers, not based on his play."

Tampa Bay currently has 15 forwards on the roster, and coach Jon Cooper likes to play 11 at times instead of the usual 12. The organization also is grooming rookies such as J.T. Brown and Nikita Kucherov. Even struggling Richard Panik, with two goals and minus-11, has 46 games.

It's not the most reassuring situation for Pyatt, who is in the final year of his contract.

"It's tough to go to a player, 'Gee, I really like the way you're playing, no complaints, but you're not playing tonight,' '' Bowness said

"All I can do is play well when I get in," Pyatt said. "Just stay positive. I know how to play the game. Just do my thing and things will work out."

GUDAS HIT: No supplemental discipline is expected for defenseman Radko Gudas for his hit on the Stars' Antoine Roussel, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said.

Gudas in the first period of Saturday's 5-2 loss received a five-minute major and a match penalty for an illegal hit to the head. Match penalties trigger an automatic league review.

MINOR MOVE: Forward Henri Ikonen, drafted 154th overall in 2013, signed a three-year, entry-level deal and will report to AHL Syracuse. Ikonen, 19, had 25 goals and 70 points in 54 games this season for Kingston of the Ontario junior league and played for Finland at this year's world junior championship.

Tom Pyatt a loser in Lightning numbers game 04/06/14 [Last modified: Sunday, April 6, 2014 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Kids still playing for all the marbles — literally

    Human Interest

    In this world of pompous athletes, overbearing coaches, money-grubbing owners and a win-at-all-costs mindset, it's easy to become jaded.

    Eli Murphy, right, leans in to give Sierra Ricci the traditional king and queen kiss at the National Marbles Championship in Wildwood, N.J. Both of Allegheny County Pa., they won the girls and boys championship of the 94th annual National Marbles Tournament. [Associated Press]
  2. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  3. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  4. Lightning journal: Plans set for 25th anniversary season

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — The Lightning revealed some of its plans for its 25th anniversary season Friday, including a ceremony to honor the 2004 Stanley Cup team.

    John Tortorella, in Tampa in 2014 for the 10-year Stanley Cup win party, will return next season for the team’s anniversary event.
  5. Rays designate catcher Derek Norris for assignment

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — C Derek Norris tied a career-high with three hits in Friday's 15-5 win against the Orioles then was designated for assignment after the game to make room on the 25-man roster for C Wilson Ramos.

    Matt Duffy is expected to resume his baseball activities once the stitches heal.