Talk about old school
If Barry Melrose had his way, all his defensemen would use wooden-shaft sticks. The Lightning coach made that declaration after a recent practice in which two composite sticks snapped a few minutes apart.
"Every night you see a defenseman get (the puck) and shoot it, and (his stick) snaps," Melrose said. "Wood sticks never did that."
It's no mystery why players like composites. They are lighter, and the combination of material and stick speed means shots are harder. But, as Melrose said, "You can shoot it harder, yes, but Al MacInnis won the strongest shot competition, and Al Iafrate won the hardest shot competition, and they used wood sticks." (So did then-Lightning Fredrik Modin, who fired a 102.1 mph shot in 2001.)
"If you shoot 105 mph, does it make much difference if you can shoot it 106?" Melrose added. "You're giving up a lot of durability to go with a little bit of extra momentum on your shot."
Saw style for charity
Lightning goalie Mike Smith on Saturday wore a mask the team hopes will become a collector's item for fans of the grisly Saw movies. On one side, a picture of the creepy clown doll that taunts the movie's victims and police, on the other, the evil Jigsaw and his female accomplice, the architects of the bloody onscreen mayhem. Chains on both sides of the mask appear to pull apart a mouth.
Owner Oren Koules is the Hollywood producer responsible for the series that continues Friday with the release of Saw V. Goalie Olaf Kolzig also will wear a mask depicting the movie, but it has yet to arrive.
It was unclear how many times the masks will be worn. Smith's will be auctioned to benefit the Lightning Foundation. Kolzig's will be auctioned to benefit Athletes Against Autism.
5 questions for ...
RW Adam Hall
Favorite TV show? It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Must-see actor? Matt Damon.
Dogs or cats? Dogs. I just grew up with them.
Guilty pleasure at the mall? I'd have to say Starbucks.
Band with which you'd like to be onstage? Nickelback. I just like their music quite a bit, and I hear they're hockey fans.
According to Team Marketing Report, a Chicago publisher of sports marketing and sponsorship information, only seven teams have less expensive tickets than the Lightning, whose average price is $42.41, a 3.5 percent decline from last season. Tampa Bay is one of only four teams - including the Devils (minus-15.7), Maple Leafs (minus-0.8) and Coyotes (minus-0.7) - whose average ticket price went down.
Maples Leafs $76.15