Kukla's Korner Hockey
“The biggest thing I want the players to know is that it’s really not acceptable last night to come out with a point against that team. I don’t know that it was in the past, but it definitely isn’t in the present. ... That was a team that was down, and we have to recognize that and develop more of a killer instinct. To their credit, they did what they had to do, but it shouldn’t sneak up on you.”
-Tampa GM Brian Lawton after the Bolts lost to New Jersey last night. More at Lightning Strikes…
from Lightning Strikes,
St. Louis has just one goal and 21 shots in 10 games. And while he readily admits “that’s not enough,” he also said his spot on the point has made him think more about passing than shooting. Melrose said he hopes that will change.
“I hope it increases (St. Louis’ shots) because he has the puck more,” Melrose said. “Marty has to be selfish on the point. He has a great shot that he gets away quick.”
St. Louis had zero shots Saturday against the Senators and missed the net on a shorthanded breakaway. That followed a four-shot, three-post effort Thursday against the Sabres.
from Mike Brophy of Sportsnet,
Asked what he thinks about the fact many suggested goaltending was one of the big question marks facing the Lightning heading into the 2008-09 season now that his numbers rank among the best among NHL puck-stoppers, Smith smiles.
“Some people are still saying that,” he says with a laugh.
They shouldn’t be.
from Adam Kimelman of NHL.com,
In the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, one of the most memorable exchanges occurred in Game 3, when the Lightning’s Vincent Lecavalier and the Flames’ Jarome Iginla, each team’s best player and biggest star, dropped the gloves.
The fight sparked both teams to a memorable seven-game series, eventually won by the Lightning.
Who won the fight that night in Calgary four years ago is pretty meaningless. What does matter, though, is who the better player is. That’s for the fans to decide.
from Lightning Strikes,
So, the Lightning players, who have really taken to Stamkos (“He’s always smiling,” captain Vinny Lecavalier said), decided to let him skate onto the ice first during warmups. What Stamkos didn’t know is that his teammates were going to hold up in the runway to the ice and have him skate out by himself. It worked as it took Stamkos about a half a lap of the Lightning zone to realize he was out there alone.
from Lightning Strikes,
“It’s definitely a change,” Lecavalier said before the game with the Maple Leafs. “I would like to play more, and I like to play more. I want to get the 20 minutes in there, or 21 minutes. A lot of people say we played too much last year and I understand that. But 20, 21 minutes, I think, would be a good number.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
Early-season struggles put immediate pressure on ex-ESPN analyst Barry Melrose to put some wins together after being the hand-picked, surprise coaching choice of owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, and, not surprisingly, Melrose chose to lean on veteran players early, leaving Stamkos with as little as 6:05 of ice time.
Stamkos, along with the rest of the team, hasn’t produced much offence, and through seven games the 18-year-old has yet to record his first NHL point.
Sending him back to the Sarnia Sting of the OHL is out of the question after all the pre-season fanfare. Giving him more and more playing time is now the plan.
“Al (Strachan) is sort of like a spaghetti salesman. Al just throws so much against the wall and hopes something sticks. … It’s total lies.”
-Lightning coach Barry Merose on Al Strachan. More on the Lightning at the St. Petersburg Times…
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
We watched with interest during “Hockey Night in Canada’s” weekly Hotstove segment Saturday—and not just because our pal Pierre LeBrun was in his usual seat on the panel.
Veteran hockey writer Al Strachan reported that sources told him that during the Lightning’s season-opening weekend in Europe, co-owner and former NHLer Barrie was in the dressing room diagramming power-play and penalty-killing strategies. Strachan suggested the Bolts were “imploding” and that “the league over/under” on Melrose was mid-November.
On Sunday, Lightning co-owner Oren Koules, who was in Europe for those two opening games (both losses) versus the New York Rangers, told ESPN.com that the report was “a blatant lie. It never happened.”
continued with more hockey notes…
from Bolts Report,
In hockey terms, what Barry Melrose put the team through is what’s called a bag skate (so called because players skate until their bags fall off).
There was very little pucks used through the 45-minute, except for some early drills and battle drills. The rest of the time it was guys skating back and forth from line to line.
“The message is pretty clear, if you’re not going to work at night you are going to work during the day,” Melrose said.
I’ve never experienced what the players go through on practices like this, but it sure doesn’t look fun. But Ryan Malone did his best to keep up a good attitude during the whole thing.
“You have to or else its going to feel like it will last longer than it does,” Malone said.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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