A number of lineup changes expected for tonight's 7pm start against the Leafs
The Lightning will get back to business tonight after Tuesday's tough loss to the Rangers. Head Coach Rick Tocchet was admittedly disappointed with the loss after which he said the only thing that went right was that the bus to the game was on time. All kidding aside the Lightning players know they need to be better and that will hopefully start tonight against the Maple Leafs.
It has been a pretty busy day around the team as it appears rookie Victor Hedman will sit out tonight in the first healthy scratch of his career. Tocchet said he feels Hedman needs to "catch his breath" a bit and that he is over-thinking things which is leading to him being caught in between on some plays. Tocchet was also quick to point out that it was nothing to do with his physical abilities and more to do with the mental part of the game.
Todd Fedoruk, fresh off his guest Twitter appearance in Carolina, will get back in the line up tonight, as will David Hale and Matt Walker. Kurtis Foster will go back to forward tonight, allowing the coaching staff to still use him on the power play.
The Lightning also claimed Nate Thompson off waivers from the New York Islanders today. For those of you who do not know anything about Thompson, he isn't expected to be a 30-goal scorer, but he brings the kind of intangibles that Tocchet is looking for. He skates well, brings a lot of energy, hits and is one of those players who would fly through a brick wall to win a hockey game. Those types of guys are always good to have around. He will arrive in Tampa tonight but will most likely not be in the line up until Saturday.
In order to make room for Thompson, the team sent forward James Wright back to his junior team, the Vancouver Giants. Wright has been a fantastic story this season after making the team out of training camp. Management feels that he will benefit more from playing 20 minutes a night in the WHL as opposed to a hand-full of minutes in Tampa. Personally, "Wrighter" is always a pleasure to deal with and we all wish him the best the rest of the year in Vancouver. I'm sure we'll see him again soon.
Finally, Mike Smith was back on the ice with the entire team today after taking shots from just a few guys yesterday. Smith had what Tocchet called a "good session" and said he looked good. Smith said at this point he is improving and that it is merely a comfort issue.
Tonight's game is at 7 p.m. due to broadcast nationally in Canada so get to the Times Forum early.