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Tampa Bay Lightning

Bolts Report

Thursday, 01.19.2012 / 3:31 PM / Bolts Report
By Peter Pupello  - Lightning Beat Reporter
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Bolts Report

January 19, 2012


HOME AND AWAY
Following an off-ice team-building activity on Wednesday in which the Lightning took a tour of the newly-renovated Tampa Bay Times Forum, the team returned to the ice in Brandon on Thursday to hold practice before chartering a flight to Dallas. The Lightning kick off a two-game back-to-back set on Friday against the Stars and wrap up the trip the following night in Phoenix.

To date this season, Tampa Bay is 2-2-0 in the first game of back-to-backs and is 1-3-0 in the second half.

INJURY UPDATE
JT Wyman, Adam Hall and Victor Hedman skated by themselves on Thursday, while Marc-Andre Bergeron did not skate and will not travel with the team on the road trip, head coach Guy Boucher said.

Ryan Shannon also skated on Thursday in Brandon, but was wearing the red no-contact jersey.

Dana Tyrell, too, was on the ice Thursday and is still listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury.

Forward Tom Pyatt left the ice early at Thursday’s practice after injuring himself participating in puck battle drills and did not return.

“He’s one of those guys who has been at his best for us,” head coach Guy Boucher said of Pyatt. “But, those injuries just keep on slapping us.”


FAMILIAR FACE

On Saturday when the Lightning visit the Coyotes in Phoenix, several players will face off against former teammate and Tampa Bay goaltender Mike Smith.

Smith signed with the Phoenix as a free agent during this past summer’s offseason and has enjoyed success so far this season with his new club, posting a 17-12-6 record with a .923 save percentage and a 2.43 goals-against average.

“It’s going to be fun,” Bolts forward Steven Stamkos said. “Obviously Smitty was a big part of our team the last couple years and one of my closest friends on the team as well. It was sad to see him go, but that’s the business of hockey. He’s having a tremendous season, but hopefully we can sneak a couple past him when we play them.”


MOORE IS MONEY

Lightning head coach Guy Boucher had high praise for the late-game heroics of Dominic Moore on Thursday, referring to him as a “money player.”

Moore earned the nickname from his coach after he came up big in Tuesday night’s 5-3 win over the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins, as he scored the game-winning goal with 3:45 left in regulation to help Tampa Bay snap a seven-game losing skid.

In reality, Moore is no stranger to clutch performances and has proven he is worthy of the moniker on multiple occasions prior to just Tuesday.

The Lightning forward has recorded the game-deciding goal in four of the Lightning’s past five shootout victories, and also had the game-winning goal for the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of the 2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals that eliminated the top-seeded Washington Capitals from the postseason.

“He’s one of those guys who loves the pressure and enjoys the challenge,” Boucher said of Moore. “You know he wants to be on that ice and his attitude and his work ethic are what makes him so successful. So, I’m never surprised any time he scores a big goal.”


WHO'S IN GOAL

Guy Boucher said he will use both Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson in net for the two-game back-to-back set, but as of Thursday, was undecided about which net minder would play which game.

January 16, 2012


RETURN TO THE RINK
The Tampa Bay Lightning followed up Sunday’s afternoon matinee defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins by holding a series of meetings and an on-ice practice Monday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Lightning head coach Guy Boucher continued to preach to the team the importance of putting each loss behind them, staying positive, and continuing to improve each day amidst facing a lot of adversity.

TYRELL OUT
Guy Boucher said Monday that Dana Tyrell is out for Tuesday’s game against the Bruins with a lower body injury.

Tyrell sustained the injury during the third period of Sunday’s game and did not return. He is listed as day-to-day.

RECEIVING THE CALL

With the news of Tyrell’s absence for Tuesday’s game, the Lightning recalled forward Trevor Smith from the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.

Smith has played in all 39 games for the Admirals this season, recording 16 goals and 44 points. He leads all Norfolk skaters in points, is second for goals, assists and power-play goals with six, and is tied for second with a plus-17 rating.

Smith is also familiar with Lightning assistant Dan Lacroix, who served as an assistant coach of the New York Islanders when Smith debuted in the NHL with the team during the 2008-09 season.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said he didn’t make much about Sunday’s confrontation between Bolts captain Vincent Lecavavlier and Penguins All-Star Evgeni Malkin.

In the third period, Lecavalier approached Malkin from behind and started throwing punches, which stemmed from an incident on the previous play in which Lecavalier thought Malkin “tried to go for the knees.”

Boucher understood Lecavalier’s reaction and didn’t place any blame upon him for what transpired.

"In those situations, he's the captain,” Boucher said. He wants to show we're not going to take everything and not just be little poodles and wait for things to happen. For me, there's absolutely no blame on his part there. It’s one of those moments. Guys are emotional and they care. If they didn’t care, you wouldn’t see that.”

ALL-STAR TRIO

While Steven Stamkos may have been the lone player named from the Lightning to represent the club in the NHL All-Star Game, the team’s top AHL affiliate in Norfolk had three of theirs receive the call to participate in their league’s mid-season festivities. Forwards Cory Conacher and Trevor Smith, along with defenseman Mark Barberio, were each named to the AHL’s Eastern Conference All-Star Team. The three Admirals players are the most the team has had tabbed as All-Stars since it had four during the 2006-07 season.

January 11, 2012


PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
After falling 5-4 in a shootout to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned to the confines of the rink at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to hold practice. The main focuses of Wednesday's on-ice session were fine-tuning the details in the faceoff circle, as well as in the neutral zone.

HALL UPDATE
General Manager Steve Yzerman reported that Adam Hall has a torn muscle in his forearm and could be out for up to eight weeks.

The good news, however, is that Yzerman does not think Hall will require surgery.

Hall, who is on Injured Reserve, suffered the injury in the Lightning's 4-1 loss at Ottawa last Thursday after engaging in a fight with Senators enforcer Matt Carkner.

"He's a huge part of our team defensively," head coach Guy Boucher said of Hall. "He's the most reliable forward we've got, he's our best faceoff guy, he blocks shots, he pays the price, and he's our top guy on the penalty kill, so it's a big piece for us to lose."

Hall joins other Bolts currently on the injury list, including JT Wyman, Ryan Shannon, Mattias Ohlund and Victor Hedman.

CLOSE CALL

The Lightning had to hold their collective breath in the second period of last night's game against the Canucks when Steven Stamkos, the league's leading goal scorer with 29 goals this season, went down along the side boards and then left the ice after a collision with Vancouver's Alex Edler. Rather than the incident turning into anything serious, it appeared Stamkos just had the wind knocked out of him and returned to play in the third period.

When asked Wednesday if Stamkos would be good to play in Thursday's matchup with divisional rival Carolina, head coach Guy Boucher said "he's great."

HOBEY HOPEFUL

Senior forward Alex Killorn of the Harvard men's hockey team are among the nominees in fan balloting for the 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award, which opened Monday.

The high-scoring Crimson forward is among 77 players nominated for the honor bestowed annually on the top player in college hockey. The Hobey Baker winner will be announced Apr. 6 at the NCAA Frozen Four at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Killorn leads Harvard with nine goals and 18 points through 14 games this season. He ranks 13th nationally with 0.64 goals per game and 16th with 1.29 points per game. The Montreal native and Bolts prospect centers the Crimson's top scoring line and has scored six power-play goals as part of the nation's top-rated man-advantage unit.

POINT TAKEN

Rather than hanging their heads low following last night's 5-4 loss in the shootout to the Canucks, the Lightning gladly took the one point they received, feeling like it could be used as a positive takeaway to build off of in upcoming games.

"Of course we'd like to get the two points," forward Martin St. Louis said. "But for me, we showed character again and I thought this was something we can build off of. The way were able to get a point the way that we did, there's a positive in there. Against a pretty good Vancouver team, we'll take it any day.

NEW WHEELS

On display in the Lightning locker room Wednesday following practice was Nate Thompson's Christmas gift from his girlfriend, a black beach cruiser bicycle.

Thompson said he rode the bicycle to the Times Forum for practice in the morning, and even encountered a few friendly greetings from other pedestrians and drivers.

Steven Stamkos appeared to be a huge fan of Thompson's new wheels, as he took the bike for a lap around the locker room and through the gym floor before returning it to his Lightning teammate.

Dwayne Roloson, however, was hardly as impressed, jokingly stating that "the game has changed a lot over the years."

January 6, 2012


NO PLACE LIKE HOME


The Tampa Bay Lightning returned to home ice Monday, holding practice at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon following a three-game road trip through Canada. The Bolts will host two games at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where the team posts a record of 11-5-0, before concluding the second half of a back-to-back set in Washington on Friday night. Tampa Bay will then return home to host an additional pair of games versus Pittsburgh and Boston, respectively.

PYATT PROLONGS TENURE


General Manager Steve Yzerman announced Monday that the Lightning signed center Tom Pyatt to a two-year contract, set to keep the forward in a Bolts sweater through the 2013-14 season.

"Definitely happy," Pyatt said. "I'm proud to be here. Pyatt, known for his hustle and hard work in the tough areas of the ice, has impressed head coach Guy Boucher this season, who on Monday praised the forward for his work ethic and commitment to the team.

"We want guys to be relentless. Few guys are, but he is. Every day at practice, he's not a big guy, but he goes in there and digs, he goes head-first, he cares about his defensive game and he's one of those foot soldiers, so that's what everyone respects.

Pyatt has a career-high three goals and five points in 35 games this season for the Bolts.

ROLI GETS THE START

Guy Boucher stated Monday that Dwayne Roloson will be in net tomorrow for the Bolts.

Although Roloson's numbers this season have come down from where they were last year in half a season with Tampa Bay, Boucher continues to have positive reviews of his goaltender, admiring his attitude, enthusiasm and determination to continue to battle through his struggles.

" I thought he did some good things in his last game in net," Boucher said. "He's had some terrific practices and this morning was probably his best practice of the year." Roloson's 16 career wins and five shutouts against the Canucks are his most against any team.

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK

Lightning defenseman Brendan Mikkelson, acquired last week from Calgary in exchange for Blair Jones, said the adjustment to his new team is getting easier now that a few days have passed and he is more settled in.

"It was good for me to get back to Tampa Bay [Sunday] to rest up a bit and get to know my surroundings. It's exciting."

Mikkelson, now with his third NHL team, added that being traded doesn't provide as much of a shock as it used to, especially not after it's happened a few times, but said the most challenging part of joining a new club is fitting into a specific role, excelling in that role, and earning playing time.

"The first thing you hope to do is show the coaches what you can do and earn a spot in the lineup," Mikkelson said. "That's my overall goal first and foremost, and then we'll go from there."

BIRTHDAY BOY

Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon celebrated his 34th birthday Monday, however kept a low profile, as many of his own teammates were unaware that their net minder was turning another year older. In fact, it wasn't until the team's Public Relations representative mentioned it in the locker room that Garon began receiving congratulations and "Happy Birthday" salutations.

INJURY UPDATE

Marc-Andre Bergeron was not on the ice Monday due to what the team called "body maintenance," but Boucher confirmed he will be good to go tomorrow versus Vancouver.

Adam Hall had testing done and received further evaluation on his upper body injury this afternoon, but there were no details regarding specifics that were announced. The team hopes to know to more on Tuesday.

January 6, 2012


ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Following Thursday's 4-1 defeat at Ottawa, the Lightning continued on their three-game road trip and headed east to conclude the set on Saturday in Montreal. The Bolts are still looking for their first win on the stretch away from home, having lost each of the first two contests to drop them to 6-14-3 away from home this season.

TRADING PLACES

The Lightning today acquired defenseman Brendan Mikkelson from the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Blair Jones, General Manager Steve Yzerman announced. With Tampa Bay's defensive depth largely depleted, Mikkelson will join the Lightning and is expected to be in the lineup versus the Canadiens on Saturday.

Mikkelson has played in 86 career NHL games with the Flames and the Anaheim Ducks throughout his career, recording six assists and 40 penalty minutes. He made his NHL debut during the 2008-09 season and played in a career-high 34 games with Anaheim.

In addition, the blueliner has played in 183 career AHL games with the Portland Pirates, Iowa Chops, Toronto Marlies and Abbotsford. He has amassed 18 career AHL goals and 64 points. Mikkelson helped Portland to the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs, recording two goals and eight points.

Listed at 6-foot-3, 206 pounds, Mikkelson brings a little more NHL experience, as well as size to the Lightning than Jones did, and is known for both his speed and his ability to chase pucks and move it out of danger.

Thompson, who is on Injured Reserve, although at retroactive status, could return as soon as Tuesday for the Bolts' matchup with the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

THE ROOKIE RETURNS

Fresh off a bronze medal win at the World Junior Championships in Calgary, rookie forward Brett Connolly will return to the Lightning and is expected to be in the lineup versus Montreal on Saturday.

Connolly helped Canada to a third-place win over Finland in what was his second and final appearance at the tournament. He skated in all six games for the Canadians during the competition, recording five goals and six points along with a plus-4 rating. He was tied for second on the team for goals and tied for fifth among all tournament goal-scorers.

The Bolts forward also tallied in each of Canada's games throughout the tournament with the exception of the Bronze Medal Game, despite having three shots on goal in the contest. He was one of Canada's top three players as selected in the post-tournament coaches' poll, along with Phoenix first-round pick D Brandon Gormley and Ottawa sixth-round selection RW Mark Stone.

STAMMER'S A STAR

The league announced Monday that Steven Stamkos was named First Star of the Week for the period of play ending on Jan. 1.

Stamkos surged into first place in the NHL goal-scoring lead by notching six goals as the Lightning posted three consecutive victories and moved within six points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Stamkos scored twice, including the game-winning goal, in a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 27 and tallied once in a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 29.

He ended the week by recording the fifth hat trick of his NHL career and second game-winner in three outings to key a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 31.

The first overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft enters the New Year with a League-leading 26 goals, four more than second-place Marian Gaborik of the New York Rangers. Stamkos is the only NHL player to have scored at least 40 goals in each of the past three calendar years.

MINOR MOVE

Also on Friday, the Lightning reassigned defenseman Evan Oberg to Norfolk and recalled Pierre-Cedric Labrie from the Admirals.
The call-up is the first of the season for Labrie, who as of Friday, ranked sixth on the Admirals with 19 points in 29 games, including six goals. He also ranked second on the team with a plus-17 rating.

January 4, 2012


MALONE ADDED TO INJURY LIST

On the same day as Nate Thompson returned to the lineup for the Tampa Bay Lightning, another Lightning forward joined the team's growing list of injured players.

The injury bug continues to plague the Bolts, with Ryan Malone serving as its latest victim.

Malone did not play Tuesday to open up a three-game road trip against the Maple Leafs, and also will not appear in Thursday's contest against the Ottawa Senators.

Malone's injury occurred when he and Thompson collided at Monday's practice in Brandon, and although the incident at first looked harmless, it left Malone slashing his stick against the bench out of frustration.

The Bolts forward, currently tied for fourth on the team with seven goals and who has 20 points in 33 games this season, is listed as day-to-day.

Both Boucher and Thompson both said they were surprised to hear that the play left Malone out of the lineup for Tuesday's game at the Air Canada Centre.

Expected or not, the situation does not bode well for a Lightning team already hampered by injuries.

Mattias Ohlund has missed all of the team's 38 games in the regular season following arthroscopic knee surgery, and Ryan Shannon currently sits on Injured Reserve with a knee sprain that is projected to have him sidelined an additional two to three weeks. Victor Hedman, out indefinitely with a concussion, is also unavailable with no timetable set for his return.

January 2, 2012


BACK TO WORK

Following the New Year's holiday, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned to the rink in Brandon Monday morning to hold a 60-minute practice before departing for the Tampa Jet Center as it leaves on a three-game road trip through Canada.

TIMETABLE FOR THOMPSON

Head coach Guy Boucher said Nate Thompson is "really, really, really close" to returning to the lineup for Tampa Bay.

Thompson, who is on Injured Reserve, although at retroactive status, could return as soon as Tuesday for the Bolts' matchup with the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

Thompson was on the ice practicing Monday.

"He felt really good today," Boucher said. "He didn't have any problems practicing, so I'll have to discuss with [head athletic trainer] Tommy [Mulligan] to see if he's ready to go."

MILESTONE MARKER

Martin St. Louis recorded his 500th career assist in Saturday's game against division-rival Carolina, accomplishing yet another significant milestone in what has been an illustrious career.

"I'm proud of that," St. Louis said. "When you come into this league you don't think about that, you are just trying to find your way. And along the way, you reach certain benchmarks, you get recognized for different things and it's flattering. But it's an honor even to play in this league."

The assist set up Steven Stamkos' third goal of the game to cap off the forward's fifth career hat trick, while it also extended St. Louis' point streak to five games since returning injury.

STAMMER'S A STAR

The league announced Monday that Steven Stamkos was named First Star of the Week for the period of play ending on Jan. 1.

Stamkos surged into first place in the NHL goal-scoring lead by notching six goals as the Lightning posted three consecutive victories and moved within six points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Stamkos scored twice, including the game-winning goal, in a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Dec. 27 and tallied once in a 4-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Dec. 29.

He ended the week by recording the fifth hat trick of his NHL career and second game-winner in three outings to key a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 31.

The first overall selection in the 2008 NHL Draft enters the New Year with a League-leading 26 goals, four more than second-place Marian Gaborik of the New York Rangers. Stamkos is the only NHL player to have scored at least 40 goals in each of the past three calendar years.

INJURY UPDATE

Lightning forward Ryan Shannon is on Injured Reserve, albeit retroactive status, and is still expected to miss an additional two to three weeks with a knee sprain.

Mattias Ohlund said that nothing has really changed since the beginning of the season and that he continues to rehab both of his knees, which underwent arthroscopic surgery in the days leading up to the season-opener on Oct. 7.

Victor Hedman continues to be evaluated each day for a concussion, which has him sidelined indefinitely.

Both Hedman and Shannon will not travel with the team on its three-game road trip this week through Canada.

FROZEN FLASHBACK

The Markham Waxers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League are in town to participate in a local tournament, bringing back some fond memories for Steven Stamkos, who is a former product of the club and played with the team prior to making the jump to the OHL.

"That was pretty cool that they were here," Stamkos said. "It definitely brings back some old memories and it was good to see some of the kids out here for a change."

During the 2005-06 season, Stamkos scored an eye-popping 105 goals and recorded 92 assists for a total of 197 points in just 66 games for the Waxers.

December 28, 2011


PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

Following a 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, the Lightning returned to the rink across town in Brandon to hold a 90-minute practice at the Ice Sports Forum.

MEDICAL MATTERS

Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said he would return to church this week to light some candles in order to expedite the healing process of several players who are currently banged up with injuries.

Victor Hedman did not skate Wednesday in Brandon, and is not expected to appear in tomorrow's game against the Canadiens. Hedman logged just 4:11 in ice time Tuesday versus the Flyers and left the game early after falling awkwardly into the boards that left him with an upper-body injury.
Like Hedman, Eric Brewer also made an early exit from Tuesday's game, but is expected to be in the lineup versus Montreal.

Brewer is "fine," according to Boucher, who said he couldn't blame his top defenseman for participating in a dust-up with Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds.

"We didn't want him to go [with Simmonds], but they were going at it and going at it. They knew what they were doing, and that's part of the game. He's a proud guy, he's a warrior and he got caught up in the emotion. It's hard to walk away from that when someone is challenging you. I can understand why he did it, but I can also understand that we need him on the ice, especially now."

Boucher also added that Matt Gilroy, who has missed each of the team's past four games with a lower body injury, will be ready to play on Thursday versus Montreal, while Nate Thompson was "better today than yesterday." Thompson is still listed as day-to-day.

Mathieu Garon will also get the start in net again Thursday for Tampa Bay.

CAGE RAGE

Since returning to action last week at San Jose after suffering facial and nasal fractures, much has been made of Martin St. Louis wearing the cage around his helmet to protect his face.

St. Louis spoke out on the subject, saying it was still an adjustment and that in some ways, he feels it has impacted his play.

"I don't know if it's the cage or that I haven't played in two weeks, the poise with the puck the confidence, the patience," he told The St. Petersburg Times. "It just feels like I lose a lot of pucks in my skate because of the chin, it feels like there's always people on you when there isn't. I just got to get used to it."

The metal cage will be in place for approximately another month, at which time St. Louis said he will switch to the clear visor that is currently worn by most NHL players.

EASY ADJUSTMENT

Lightning call-up JT Wyman, who played under Boucher with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the American Hockey League, impressed his head coach with his 6:01 of ice time in his team debut on Friday at Colorado.

"He does exactly what we ask him to do," Boucher said. "His work ethic is good and he's a big guy. I would honestly say that I think [Friday] was the best game by a call-up in a year and half."

Wyman said the biggest difference in the style of play from the AHL to the NHL is merely the speed and intensity of the pace of play. While the NHL arenas are louder and more crowded, and while the talent level may be a few notches up from what he is used to, Wyman said the familiarity with Boucher and the coaching staff has undoubtedly made the transition easier.

"Having played a full season under coach Boucher in Hamilton has been helpful, very helpful. It's helped me with my expectations and knowing what I need to do in order to contribute to the team. He lays out what we need to do each night and that helps us come together as a team."

December 16, 2011


EVERYBODY'S WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND

Following a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over the Calgary Flames Thursday night, the Bolts returned to the St. Pete Times Forum Friday to hold a 45-minute practice prior to departing for Columbus via the team's charter flight.

Saturday's game in Columbus is the first of a three-game swing away from home that extends into next week. Due to the three-day span in between games, however, the team will return to Tampa on Sunday before heading out West to San Jose. The Lightning face the Sharks in a late game on Wednesday night and conclude the trip two days later in Colorado in a matchup with the Avalanche.

GARON GOES BACK

Mathieu Garon will make the start again in net for tomorrow night's game against the Blue Jackets and is expected to play for a sixth consecutive game.

The contest also marks the first time Garon will return to Columbus to face his former team, with whom he spent each of the past two seasons prior to being acquired by the Lightning during this past offseason.

"I don't expect anything special honestly," Garon said of returning. "It will be a little different though to see players who you used to play with year-round. But it was a fun experience, I had two good years there and my family really loved it, but I've turned the page and now I'm happy to be in Tampa."

INJURY UPDATE

Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said he does not expect defenseman Matt Gilroy to suit up for tomorrow's game against the Blue Jackets.

Gilroy logged 15:30 in ice time on Thursday against Calgary, but went off with a lower-body injury and is listed as day-to-day.

"For now, he doesn't look like he will be available," Boucher said.

Martin St. Louis worked out for the first time Friday inside the gym located within the Lightning locker room this morning. With the blood clot now gone from his left eye, St. Louis said he feels "ok" but that his vision is still a little blurry and that depth perception in the eye still needs to improve.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE

It was no secret that Steven Stamkos wanted to take more of a leadership role at the beginning of the season, and according to Boucher, the Lightning forward has succeeded.

"You can see that he really wants it," Boucher said. "He's charging through things, he's not folding, and right away, through his actions, he's been showing that he can go through adversity while charging, and to me that's huge."

Boucher noted he was impressed with Stamkos' ability to be more vocal not only on the ice, but more recently, in the locker room and on the bench. The head coach also credited teammates Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis with helping Stamkos become more of a presence off the ice.

"He's been under Marty's and Vinny's wing a little bit, but now I think that those days are behind," Boucher added. "They did a terrific job with him and I think right now you see the upside of what they've done with him."

December 14, 2011


ROLOSON RE-FOCUSING



Following an off-ice team function on Tuesday, the Bolts returned to the confines of the rink for a 90-minute practice Wednesday morning at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Despite speculation that the Lightning are tinkering with the possibility of calling up goaltending prospect Dustin Tokarski from Norfolk, Dwayne Roloson was on the ice Wednesday participating in drills with enthusiasm and focus. He has also been the subject of numerous positive reviews from teammates and the coaching staff for his commitment to get better every day at practice.

EYE-ING SAFETY

Blair Jones, after being cut around the eye in his first game following his recall last Thursday at Madison Square Garden, was seen sporting a visor at practice, but said unlike a lot of players, he actually doesn't mind wearing one.

Following his own incident, and of course seeing what happened to teammate Martin St. Louis just hours earlier that very same day, Jones said a lot of his own family members and even the coaching staff have been encouraging him to put the shield to good use.

"I've been whacked in the face a few times this season, so I thought maybe someone was trying to tell me something," Jones said. "I've had a little bug in my ear the last few days telling me to wear it, but I actually had to wear it all the time in the minors anyways so it's not like a huge adjustment."

St. Louis, meanwhile, while not on the ice, was present in the locker room after practice.

THURSDAY LINE-UPS

Head coach Guy Boucher said that Mathieu Garon will start in net tomorrow night against Calgary and nothing would change from Monday's game, as he is opting to stick with six defensemen and 12 forwards.

RE-INSTILLING ENTHUSIASM

Boucher also went on to say that with the Lightning in the midst of a stretch in which it has lost seven of the past eight games, and coming off a 5-4 loss to New Jersey on Monday, Wednesday's on-ice session was no scenario to hand down punishment.

Rather, Boucher incorporated contests into the drills designed to have one team emerge as the winner, with the thought that it would help the team compete harder if the players recognized the approach as fun and one that was met with enthusiasm.

"I could have gone out there and started yelling and screaming and whipping some butt out there, but is that really going to make a difference? No," Boucher said. "There are moments when you know your team can take it. People think it's the opposite, that when things are going bad that you really have to punish. No, right now our confidence is fragile and it's not a question of them knowing whether or not they can do it. They know they can do it, and I know that nothing great has been accomplished without enthusiasm. So the first few drills were a game and it was important to give the guys and opportunity to have fun, plus, win something too."

BOWLING WITH BRITTANY

Following practice today, Ryan Malone and Dominic Moore accompanied in-arena host and Lightning feature report Brittany Zion to the bowling alley to shoot a video segment that will be featured on TampaBayLightning.com called "Bowling With Brittany." Fans are encouraged to visit the team's official site in the upcoming days to check out all the action.