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Cooper Doing His Best To Manage Team's Minutes

by Missy Zielinski / Tampa Bay Lightning

Due to the 2014 Winter Olympics the NHL schedule is more condensed this year and that brings more situations like the Tampa Bay Lightning are currently facing this weekend – back-to-back games. Yet the coaching staff is doing their part to manage each player's minutes.

Goaltender Ben Bishop has skated in the back-to-back scenario before, but head coach Jon Cooper wants to make sure Anders Lindback is getting his reps in net too.

Bishop earned his second shutout of the season on November 25 in the Lightning's first meeting against the New York Rangers, who they face tonight, however "Bishop has played pretty good against most of the teams," Cooper said.

The Bolts head coach does not want to start slating goalies in simply because they have played well versus a certain team because then there is a possibility the other netminder mind not get his time in at all.

"The thing is Lindback hasn't been letting us down, he's been great," Cooper said. "I want to give Lindback at least one game a week and that's the plan right now. Our team has been on a roll with both goalies playing, so there's no reason to stop now."


Logging 27:27 minutes of ice time Saturday Cooper said Victor Hedman is such an asset to the Lightning that he is one of those players that will more often than not be skating longer minutes, even when playing two games in two days.

"Hedman's a valuable part of our team and he plays in all situations," Cooper said. "If you're going to get some power plays and penalty kills all of a sudden those minutes add up."

The defenseman currently averages the second-most minutes on the team at 21:44, just slightly behind fellow blueliner Matt Carle, who averages 22:18.

  • Sami Salo joined Tampa Bay on the ice today in a red, no-contact jersey along with Eric Brewer. They both are expected to travel with the team on their upcoming road 10-day road trip.
  • Forward Richard Panik will find his way back in the lineup tonight after being a healthy scratch for the Lightning's last two games. B.J. Crombeen will be the healthy scratch in his place.
  • With a game against the Orlando Solar Bears Monday the Bolts ECHL affiliate, the Florida Everblades, practiced Sunday afternoon at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
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