With Mattias Ohlund out, Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos gets an A

RALEIGH, N.C. — Lightning coach Guy Boucher said naming C Steven Stamkos an alternate captain while D Mattias Ohlund is out with a knee injury was not done lightly.

"He earned the respect of the rest of the players on the team with his attention to details and paying the price and being so unselfish," Boucher said Friday. "That's how he earned it."

Wearing an A is another step in Stamkos' intention to, in his fourth season, become more of a team leader. He wore the A during a preseason game. With Ohlund's knee healing slowly, this could be longer term.

"It's obviously an honor when the coaching staff has that confidence and respect factor in you," Stamkos said. "I'm just trying to be more of a leader this year. That was the plan coming in."

Boucher said he considered alternating the A between Stamkos and D Eric Brewer. But Boucher said Brewer "doesn't want to have it."

"He doesn't need an A or a C to show he's one of the leaders on our team," Boucher said.

Said Brewer, "The team has their guys. That's very clear. I'm putting my two bits in like last year and don't want to get in the way. … I'm going to play my game and do what I do, and others will take care of the room."

MEDICAL MATTERS: Ohlund, on injured reserve, said he is disappointed he has not skated since Sept. 30 and is wondering if his painful right knee is worse than first believed.

"We're trying to figure out exactly what's going on," said Ohlund, who had an MRI exam that apparently showed no damage. "Hopefully it won't be serious."

Ohlund will not skate this weekend and said no further tests are scheduled, though he and the training staff will talk in the next few days.

BIG CHANCE: If F Blair Jones is to stick with the Lightning, he has to be more consistent.

"I would say two games (he would be) on, and then it would diminish after that," Boucher said of Jones' play during his callups last season.

As for this season, "What he has shown in camp every scrimmage, every practice, there's no slowing down or diminishing," Boucher said. "He came in on a mission, and he deserves to be in the lineup."

A change: Jones, 6 feet 2, 216 pounds, is in what Boucher called "incredible shape."

"I have stuff to prove to myself and the coaching staff here," said Jones, 25, who in 57 NHL games in five seasons has two goals and seven points.

FOCUS: If the Lightning is seeking revenge tonight against the Bruins, which last season eliminated it from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference final, it is not saying.

"Whatever has been in the past has to be in the past or you create the wrong kind of emotion," Boucher said. "I've always said when you're looking for revenge, you're not looking out for the task at hand."

Still, Stamkos said players have watched video of Game 7, a 1-0 loss at Boston: "I've seen it a couple of times. It's tough. It just gives you extra motivation knowing how close you were."

ODDS AND ENDS: Rookie Brett Connolly had 14:20 of ice time in his first NHL game and was 3-of-3 on faceoffs. … D Victor Hedman had three shots, blocked three and was plus-3. … Tampa Bay blocked 23 shots. … Brett Clark played his 600th NHL game. … Tampa Bay is 11-6-0 with two ties in season openers. … Forwards Mattias Ritola and Tom Pyatt and D Bruno Gervais were scratched.

With Mattias Ohlund out, Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos gets an A 10/08/11 [Last modified: Saturday, October 8, 2011 1:08am]

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