February 20, 2012
RETURN TO THE RINK
Following Saturday’s important 2-1 regulation win over the division-rival Washington Capitals, the Tampa Bay Lightning returned to the ice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Monday to hold a 90-minute practice.
Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier left the ice early on Monday after suffering what the team is calling an upper-body injury. No immediate details were disclosed, but head coach Guy Boucher said the issue has not been a chronic or nagging problem, but rather something that occurred in the team’s most recent game on Saturday and simply “popped up” at Monday’s practice.
Bolts defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron did not skate, and has not participated in on-ice team practice since Wednesday of last week, as he is still out nursing an injury to his back. Steve Downie was present at practice on Monday, but did not skate due to body maintenance.
Mathieu Garon, who is 7-2-2 in his past 11 starts, will get the call again in net for the Bolts on Tuesday against the Ducks.
Pavel Kubina addressed the media one last time as a member of the Lightning on Sunday afternoon.
Kubina, traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday for a second- and fourth-round pick as well as a prospect, spoke of how significant the Tampa Bay Lightning organization and community are to him, how he loved the area, and how he will miss his teammates, many of whom he called “friends for life.”
The defenseman also said that the past few days leading up to the trade had been very difficult, but had nothing but high praise for the Lightning organization and its owner, Jeff Vinik. Kubina added that he was looking forward to joining the Flyers and helping his new club make a run deep into the playoffs.
“It’s hard to leave,” Kubina said. “This team is always going to belong to my heart. [Getting traded], it’s part of the business, and it’s not always fun sometimes, but it's another chance for me to go and play for a great team and for a Stanley Cup contender.”
DOING IT THEIR WAY
Bolts head coach Guy Boucher acknowledged that Tuesday’s contest against the Ducks will be challenging due to the fact that Anaheim has been perhaps the NHL’s hottest team as of late.
The Ducks have earned at least a point in nine consecutive games, and have won six of their past eight games. Still, when asked if Tuesday’s opponent was one Boucher would like to emulate, the Lightning boss behind the bench simply spoke to a different tune.
“We don’t want to emulate anybody,” Boucher said. “We want to be who we are, do it the way we want to do it and make sure we focus on ourselves.”
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher had nothing but high praise for his team after it came away with consecutive wins in each of its past two games amidst the off-ice distractions involving the trades of both Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina.
“I’ve been very proud,” Boucher said. “We talked all last year and this year about being focused and reloading after bad moments, and that’s something that’s easy to say and hard to do. But I think our players have taken the steps and have shown the actions that lead to a focused team. We talk about having a rock-climber’s mentality, so that’s what we’re doing. We’re focused on the rocks in front of us and we’re plugging up.”
The team received news that defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who has missed each of the Lightning’s 58 games this season, will have major surgery performed on his left knee that has had him sidelined since early October.
The complex procedure will take place on Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where renowned specialist Dr. Anthony Miniaci will utilize a thin layer of titanium to resurface the bottom of the femur behind the kneecap. The idea will be to create a cushion that will prevent painful bone-on-bone friction.
Although the procedure is set to take place this week, there is no definite timetable for Ohlund’s return.