||Let Tampabaylightning.com become your destination for all the latest Lightning scoops. The Lightning Insider will be in the stands, in the locker room and on the road with the team throughout the 2007-08 season to provide you with a positive look at the Bolts as they pursue Lord Stanley’s hardware. Our resident snoop will post the latest following practices and morning skates, and he’ll make sure you’re the first to know when the Lightning are making news. Have a question or comment for The Insider? Send me an email at Insider@tampabaylightning.com
The Lightning skated for a little more than 30 minutes at the St. Pete Times Forum today following last night’s big win. The team won’t have longer than a two-day break between games until Christmas, so the practices will start to become more about loosening the legs and reinforcing points of John Tortorella’s system.
Johan Holmqvist was huge in the first period for the Bolts last night, as he held off a desperate Senators team until the Lightning got clicking. He also looked confident in his first shootout of the season, continuing to be one of the best in the NHL in the one-on-one game deciders. It was nice to see the Lightning keep their heads on straight last night while Ottawa’s Brian McGrattan and Chris Neil tried to stir things up, and it was the Sens who eventually lost their cool and were assessed two separate unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
Chris Gratton was given the day off for body maintenance today, so the lines in practice were Prospal-Lecavalier-St. Louis; Darche-Richards-Hlavac; Tarnasky-Karlsson-Ward; Roy-MacDonald-Ouellet.
Following practice Mathieu Darche, who tallied his third goal in three games in last night’s win, was a hot topic once again for the media. Tortorella indicated tat it was a business decision when Darche was sent to Norfolk in November, and that he’s glad to have him back in Tampa fighting for a job.
“He knows he’s fighting for his life every day and that’s not going to change,” Tortorella said. “No matter how many goals he scores, that’s not going to change.”
Tortorella also discussed his philosophy in using his timeout during a game, which differs from that of many NHL coaches. Instead of trying to save a timeout for late in the game in case his team is down and he needs to set up a faceoff play, Tortorella said he feels it’s more important to use the timeout to regroup after a goal against earlier in the game. Tortorella believes stopping the other team’s momentum and hopefully preventing a second goal against is more important than saving the timeout for a faceoff play late in the game where the players “already know what they need to do anyway.”