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Anton Stralman makes training camp debut on Sunday

Lightning vets score 2-1 win in scrimmage against rookies

by Bryan Burns /

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman missed the opening two days of training camp with an undisclosed injury.

On Sunday, however, Stralman was back on the ice for the first time, albeit in a red no-contact jersey.

While the rest of his training group practiced on the south rink at the Ice Sports Forum, Stralman skated by himself on the north rink, doing some light stick handling and shooting on an unoccupied net.

Bolts head coach Jon Cooper said Stralman should be able to rejoin his teammates in practice soon.

The team has listed Stralman as day-to-day.

"The encouraging part is he's back on the ice," Cooper said. "I would anticipate him next couple of days being back at practice."

Stralman played 73 games last season, his third with the Lightning, and helped lead Sweden to a gold medal in the World Championships in May.

Video: Highlights from training camp scrimmageREADING BETWEEN THE LINES: For the third-consecutive day, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov skated on a line together with Vladislav Namestnikov while Brayden Point played right wing alongside Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson.

But another, under-the-radar line got more time together too as Michael Bournival and Gabriel Dumont, centered by Cedric Paquette, continued to skate as a line. That trio was effective for the Lightning in the second half of 2016-17, particularly in a game at Arizona (Jan. 21) where they were relentless in their pursuit of the puck and set up the Bolts' opening goal, scored by Paquette, in a 5-3 loss.

"They're a tenacious group," Cooper said. "It's a little bit of the French connection there with those guys. They kind of feed off each other. You talk to guys, veteran players on our team, and they'll tell you they're a hard group to play against just because they hound the puck. All of them are physical. All of them are kind of in your face."

THROWN INTO THE FIRE: Tampa Bay's 2017 first round draft pick, defenseman Cal Foote, is skating in a group that includes NHL superstars Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov as well as veteran defensemen Braydon Coburn and Dan Girardi.

Four-and-a-half months ago, Foote was suiting up for the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League. On Sunday, he was trying to keep some of the NHL's best scorers from finding the back of the net.

"It's really good for me and the young D that are out there on the ice," Foote said about the experience. "Going up against some of the best players in the league is pretty special and definitely helps our development.

Foote is the son of stalwart NHL defenseman Adam Foote, who played 19 seasons in the NHL. Cal said his father gave him a few pointers for his first training camp experience.

"Just work ethic, do whatever you can to work your hardest and just listen to what the coaches have to say," the 14th overall selection in the 2017 draft said.

ICE CHIPS: Sunday's session featured a scrimmage between a predominantly veteran team versus a mostly rookie squad. The vets scored a 2-1 victory behind goals from Nikita Kucherov, who backhanded a shot from the slot into goal during 4-on-4 play, and Braydon Coburn, who roofed a shot from in close in 3-on-3 action. Erik Cernak scored the lone goal for the rookies late in the 3-on-3 when he lined up a one-timer from the high slot that was deflected in…Cooper said he'll determine Monday his game group for Tampa Bay's preseason opener against Carolina at AMALIE Arena on Tuesday…During his session with the media following Sunday's action, Cooper was asked if he'd heard any complaints from the players about heavy legs. "I have not, but I'd be the last guy they'd tell," Cooper quipped. 

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