Lightning coach Terry Crisp answers questions from Tampa Bay-area hockey fans:
Q: A lot of people are perplexed by the Pat Jablonski deal. It seems we lost our best backup goalie and didn't get much, if anything, in return. Could you please explain the deal?
_ Chris Jones
A: We knew at the start of the season that we had three goaltenders and that one was going to have to be moved. It just so happened that Wendell (Young) was injured at the start of training camp, so we were left with only two. Once Wendell made a full recovery, including playing a couple of games in Atlanta, we had three healthy goaltenders again and knew one would leave. Pat Jablonski attracted the most interest.
Trading Pat was something that nobody personally wanted to do, but hockey is a business, and sometimes you have to move people who have been an important part of your franchise. We will certainly miss Pat and hope this trade will be beneficial to both Pat and the Lightning.
Q: How do you keep the players motivated after one of their most popular teammates is traded?
_ Laura White, St. Petersburg
A: We had a team meeting the day after the trade to talk about it. We reminded the players that besides being a family, we are a business, and even though players _ in this case, Pat _ move on, he is still a part of our family and is still our friend. All of the players do realize that trades can and do happen, and it's happened to most of our players at one time or another. So we talk about it and remind the players that it's important to get on with the job at hand.
Q: I remember when they used to call Phil Esposito the Garbage Man for all the junk goals he got by sitting in front of the net on the power plays. Why don't we do a better job of putting a big guy in the slot, and why don't we just loosen up and shoot the puck more on power plays?
_ Ray Adams, Treasure Island
A: I fully concur with the idea of having big players in front of the net, and we have put Adam Creighton and Chris Gratton in that situation. But after that, we run out of big players.
We have expounded on the idea of shooting the puck more, but it's important to remember that a successful power play involves four steps: the breakout from your own zone, the entry into the offensive zone, the possession in the offensive zone and the setup. You can't get to No.
4 without taking care of the first three, so we continue to practice and practice to do it right.
Q: When you played for the Philadelphia Flyers, you played with Dave Schultz. Did you support his style of hockey?
_ Brian Alongi, Palm Harbor
A: Dave Schultz was not what I consider a violent player. To me, a violent player is one who gives out cheap shots by using his stick, runs a player into the boards from behind or kicks the feet out of an opponent. Dave Schultz was a tough, hard-nosed player who knew what his job was. He was as good a team man as anyone who wore an NHL jersey. And off the ice he was a quiet, soft-spoken individual.
Q: I've been following hockey for 50 years, and I've never heard the phrase "Kick Ice." I see it on billboards all over town, and a lot of my Canadian friends don't know what it means either. Could you please explain this phrase?
_ Bill McKinnon, Toronto
A: The phrase was really coined to identify an attitude and to give the team a work ethic. It can have many different meanings to many different people. It could mean a hard-working team. It could mean a kick save. It could mean players kicking up ice, spraying it. If anything, it provides us with an image of a hard-working, never-say-die approach to the game.