After a recovery day to themselves on Sunday after getting in around 3 a.m. from Montreal, the Lightning got back to work today with a 10:30 a.m. practice at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum. It was only about half of the team that actually hit the ice, while the other half participated in an off-ice workout. The most notable participant during the on-ice work out was Victor Hedman, who skated for the first time since being on the receiving end of a big hit from Chris Neil on Thursday in Ottawa. Head Coach Rick Tocchet said he is not going to take any chances with the rookie. “Pretty good isn’t going to be good enough for him to play,” he said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow.” Either way it appears Hedman won’t miss significant time.
It appears Alex Tanguay has found his stride after a rough start. In his first seven games, the St. Justine, Quebec native, recorded just one assist, compared to three goals and seven points in the previous six. Tocchet attributes Tanguay’s recent success to a couple different factors, namely his video work and better play defensively. “He’s playing better defensively and getting chances out of it,” Tocchet said.
Tocchet also praised defenseman Lukas Krajicek for his play in Ottawa and Montreal. He said Krajicek was more engaged in those two games as opposed to previously when he felt the defenseman was playing more tentatively. “His only issue is when he’s playing on his heels,” Tocchet said.
Don’t look now, but with their win in Montreal on Saturday the Lightning are above what Tocchet calls “the cut line”, meaning the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference that make the playoffs. “Its nice to read Tampa Bay over that line when you read the paper,” he said today.
The Bolts will be out and about in the community tomorrow with both “Unplugged” and the “Ice Hot” radio show, presented by McDonald’s, taking place. “Unplugged” will take place at The Shops at Wiregrass in Wesley Chapel with Martin St. Louis and Antero Niittymaki answering fan questions. “Ice Hot” will broadcast LIVE with host Dave Mishkin and forward Zenon Konopka from McDonald’s located at 3480 East Lake Road in Palm Harbor. Konopka will sign autographs immediately following the show.