It may have taken 34 games into his NHL career, yet patience was a virtue for the Tampa Bay Lightning's Mark Barberio, who was rewarded with not only his first, but second goals of his career.
"Not scoring the goals wasn't really weighing on me," Barberio said. "I knew at some point one was going in and it just so happened that they were in the same game, so that was pretty cool."
While Barberio has been known primarily as being an offensive defenseman in the American Hockey League, his work defensively has been where he's primarily shined for the Lightning in 2013-14.
"The one thing he's been lacking is his offensive punch that he's had with us," head coach Jon Cooper said. "For him to finally get his first goal midway through the season, I wouldn't have thought that to be the case. Offense is something you never really had to worry about with him and he's starting to finally come out of his shell.
"When he got that goal he was really confident with the puck and that's what primarily led to him getting his second."
Fellow teammates have seen Barberio grow more comfortable that comes with being on the ice. He has also been paying close attention to the little details.
"I think the little things are what make the difference for Barberio – the stick positioning, footwork and setting the puck up properly – are all things that have helped his game," Eric Brewer said.
Now that he is starting to find his niche, Barberio might be regretting a statement he shared with Tampa Bay players earlier this month.
"A couple weeks ago I told the guys if I score a goal I would cut my hair, so now it's got to go," he said. "I'm a little nervous, I'm emotionally attached now that it's been two years."
Unsure of how he's going to cut his long locks and if a charitable organization will be involved, Barberio did say he may be sporting a new do by the Bolts' next game Thursday.
OTHER ODDS 'N ENDS
Victor Hedman (lower body) re-joined the team for practice in a regular jersey Tuesday and after skating for the past two days said it was great to be on the ice and was glad it was not too serious. Cooper added that the Bolts were able to get through one game without him, but they are happy to have him back. He is expected to play Thursday versus the Ottawa Senators.
Martin St. Louis (illness) did not practice with Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Monday the Lightning captain was named the NHL's First Star of the Week for the week ending January 19.
After participating in a golf tournament Monday and practicing Tuesday, the Bolts will have a day off on Wednesday before Thursday's 10:30 a.m. morning skate in preparation for their contest against the Ottawa Senators at 7:30 p.m that evening.
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