Jacques Lemaire spoke to the media during today's morning skate.
Lemaire on facing Tampa Bay tonight
"It’s a team that improved their game from the start of the season. They’re playing much better; they’re intense. They have a great power play. You still have (Vinny) Lecavalier, and even though he doesn’t have a lot of goals, he’s a threat every time he’s on the ice. (Martin) St. Louis, that’s playing every night, playing hard; and (Steven) Stamkos and (Ryan) Malone that are both having a great year so far. They have some power offensively. They have their two top lines. You have to check; you have to play your best hockey against them."
…on Stamkos, the Lightning's leading scorer
"The games he's played against us, he's quick, he's fast, he's got a great release. He's got a touch for scoring goals, controls the puck well and has good hockey sense. He'll be a real one."
…on what he expects from his team at the start of tonight's game
"Intensity. Start on the puck and stay on the puck."
…on the impact he hopes Thursday's practice will have
"It's just to get them focused on the basics. When things are not going your way, you get out of the system. You're trying to cheat here, cheat there because you want to change that bad game, 'Maybe I’m going to change it if I get a puck and maybe I can run and get a goal and change the whole thing.' You get one guy doing it, then another guy doing it, and so on, then your position doesn’t matter and it gets worse. So we just went on and started to talk about position, what this guy’s doing in this situation and so on." …on managing his goalies on the Friday-Saturday back-to-back
"We do have a plan. We’ll talk about our plan after the game, because plans change, as you well know."
…on the strategic advantage coaches gain by not revealing their starting goaltender
"We have tape on the goalie every meeting. If we don't know (who an opponent is starting), we have to prepare two tapes of the goalie. If you want to make our job easier, give us the goalie every night and we won't worry about the other one."
…on Ilkka Pikkarainen's play since his one-game conditioning assignment in Lowell
"He's more intense. I wish he would've started the season like this, he would've played more. He's skating, he's better with the puck." …on whether the stint in Lowell had an impact
"Maybe when we sent him down, he came back and liked it a little more in the NHL than in the minors: 'I like the planes more than the bus.'"…on Vladimir Zharkov's confidence in his first two NHL games, and the performance of the team's young players
"Yeah, he is. They need to play, that's what they need. To get to the other level, they need to play a lot and be in different situations that they will get experience. You can do this to a certain limit. You don't want to lose games because you want to give experience to a kid. They're doing fine."