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Breakfast nook? Accent wall? Lightning’s Yanni Gourde has got this

The Lightning forward is brushing off his carpentry skills while the NHL’s season is still on hold.
Lightning forward Yanni Gourde takes a break with his nearly-2-year-old daughter, Emma, atop the new booth he built in their breakfast nook.
Lightning forward Yanni Gourde takes a break with his nearly-2-year-old daughter, Emma, atop the new booth he built in their breakfast nook. [ MARIE-ANDREE GOURDE | Courtesy of the Gourde family ]
Published May 1, 2020

TAMPA — It started with a question Marie Gourde posted as an Instagram Story: “Should I have Yanni build a booth?” she wrote over a photo of the couple’s breakfast nook.

The answer was yes.

Lightning forward Yanni Gourde has been doing home projects in the eight weeks since the NHL season was halted due to the coronavirus.

In addition to the booth, he has built an accent wall and hung shelves.

“She’s been ordering so much stuff,” Yanni said of Marie in a conference call with the media Thursday. “It keeps me busy.”

Related: Could Tampa host NHL games if the season resumes?
Lightning forward Yanni Gourde builds a new booth for his family's breakfast nook during the NHL pause.
Lightning forward Yanni Gourde builds a new booth for his family's breakfast nook during the NHL pause. [ MARIE-ANDREE GOURDE | Courtesy of the Gourde family ]

Keeping busy helps Yanni handle the uncertainty of the pandemic, including not knowing when he’ll have any real information about when, or if, the season will resume. So, tackling projects around the house the family moved into last summer is good for him.

Yanni borrowed tools from the contractor who built his house to tackle larger projects. He joked that if Alex Killorn makes it to his house while taking a watercraft to visit teammates for his “Dock Talk” shows on Instagram Live — a long shot because Yanni doesn’t live on the water — he’d love new tools as his thank-you gift for appearing.

“I love building furniture, building stuff,” Yanni said. “I love working with my hands.”

This isn’t a new hobby for him. It’s more of a return to his roots. Yanni, 28, worked in his uncle’s shop making cabinets during childhood summers. But Yanni isn’t sure he can offer much advice to new do-it-yourselfers with many people taking up house and yard projects while stuck at home.

Lightning forward Yanni Gourde paints a newly constructed accent wall in his family's home during the NHL's season pause.
Lightning forward Yanni Gourde paints a newly constructed accent wall in his family's home during the NHL's season pause. [ MARIE-ANDREE GOURDE | Courtesy of the Gourde family ]

“Get the right tools and do it properly, do it once,” Yanni offered. “I’ve been doing it for a long time, so I’m used to doing this stuff. I don’t know if it’s for everybody.”

Yanni has that “measure twice, cut once” adage down. Ten days after her breakfast-nook question, Marie posted an Instagram Story image of Yanni bent over a plank of wood, wearing a headband, with a pencil over one ear and another in one hand.

“How many pencils does he need?” she wondered.

No answer was given, but Marie likely is game for as many pencils as Yanni likes if he keeps checking things off her to-do list.

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at dnearhos@tampabay.com. Follow @dianacnearhos.

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