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New boss practices theory of conditioning

There's a new sheriff in town. He may be only temporary, but he's doing what he can to shape things up.

Interim coach Rick Paterson ran his first practice with the Lightning on Monday, and the word of the day was "conditioning."

After a drilled-filled 60 minutes, the Lightning spent the last 20 minutes of practice doing sprints.

"We feel that conditioning has been a problem and we started to address that a little more today," Paterson said. "But the guys don't mind coming here and having a good, solid hour practice or 50 minutes or whatever. You keep things moving and you can accomplish a lot. I want to do a lot of drills that focus on hockey but at the same time get us into better shape as well."

Paterson said the team will do just that today by practicing five-on-five, three-on-three and one-on-one drills.

"We're introducing some new things, but I don't think there's been any problems," Paterson said. "But you do want to get to the point where things become instinctual to the players, and you do that by repetition until it becomes a habit.

INJURY UPDATE: Several players missed the intense practice. Jeff Norton was out with the flu. Brian Bradley is day-to-day with a mild separation of the right shoulder. Troy Mallette remains out with a shoulder strain. Igor Ulanov, who sustained a concussion in Sunday's loss to Los Angeles, was held out for precautionary reasons. And Dino Ciccarelli was rested for various bumps and bruises.

ODDS AND ENDS: Paterson has said he would welcome general manager Phil Esposito on the ice to work with the team's power-play unit, which has converted just four times in 56 chances. After making a crucial turnover that led to Los Angeles' winning goal, D Roman Hamrlik apologized to Paterson for his "rookie mistake." Paterson said, "I don't need to say anything to Roman. He made a mistake, he knows it, and we move on. I don't need to tell him anything. That happens."

_ TOM JONES

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