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A leaner and meaner Pat Maroon?

Lightning notes | Plus, how will Tampa Bay replace key losses on its penalty-kill unit?
A leaner Pat Maroon (14) looks out at the ice while walking from the workout room to the interview area Friday at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon.
A leaner Pat Maroon (14) looks out at the ice while walking from the workout room to the interview area Friday at TGH Ice Plex in Brandon. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Sep. 24

BRANDON — The last time Lightning fans saw forward Pat Maroon, he was chugging beers at the team’s rain-halted Stanley Cup title celebration in July.

Since then, he took the Cup to his hometown of St. Louis. (“Just another Cup day,” joked Maroon, who has been part of the past three Cup-winning teams.) But he also spent his short offseason getting trimmer.

A noticeably leaner Maroon made his first media appearance of the season on Friday. He said eating better and a renewed dedication to the gym allowed him to report to training camp in better shape.

“I just tried to get into shape, just tried to work hard this summer,” Maroon said. “It wasn’t about losing the pounds. It’s just trying to be leaner and taking care of myself a little more. I came to the gym a little more. My trainer did a good job. We got back to the old routine of my St Louis and Edmonton days. Just the last few years with COVID and the short offseason, it was kind of hard to get into the gym.”

Filling the PK

The losses of Yanni Gourde, Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow not only force the Lightning to rebuild their third line, but also their penalty kill unit.

Coleman and Goodrow were the forwards on the team’s top unit, and Gourde was part of the second group.

Free-agent acquisition Pierre-Edouard Bellemare should fill one of those spots — the former Avalanche forward can take faceoffs — and coach Jon Cooper said Friday that Ross Colton and Mathieu Joseph also could see time on the penalty kill, along with Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn.

Both Colton and Joseph already figure to play more minutes as part of the team’s new third line.

“We’ve got a group of guys in there that can step up,” Cooper said. “I think after watching those guys and how they performed over the years, our guys are better for it and they are coming in to take those spots.”

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