A win is always nice (especially in overtime) and while some teams might not worry about the outcome during the preseason, John Tortorella doesn’t necessarily concur. After practice in Brandon today Torts said he felt it was important to get a win so the players could get in the correct mindset moving forward.
“[Mike Sullivan] asked me on the bench, ‘it’s a close game, do we want to keep playing the kids,’ ” Tortorella said. “I said ‘we want to win!’ ”
On the team’s overall play, Tortorella was noncommittal.
“We did some good things, but we need to work on a lot of things,” he said. “I’m not going to break things down too much until we get closer to our roster.”
Speaking of the roster, Tortorella said he expects it to be 26 players following Saturday night’s cuts. He also praised the play of Andreas Karlsson and especially Brad Richards, and he revealed that Johan Holmqvist will start and play the entire game vs. Washington Saturday night.
Other notes from the opener:
Here’s the roster of players traveling with the Capitals for Saturday’s game:
- Chris Gratton (scratched cornea) and Michel Ouellet (left hamstring strain) are both listed as day-to-day by the Lightning, but neither injury is considered serious. Gratton took a stick to the eye in the first period and was lucky he wasn’t injured worse. He saw Lightning eye specialist Dr. Charles Slonim after the game.
- Jan Hlavac will also be in the lineup Saturday. Tortorella said he was upset he wasn’t on the ice Wednesday as he continued to recover from his bruised instep.
- Richards was the best player on the ice; a fantastic sign for Lightning fans. He seems to be in the best shape of his life.
- Darche continues to impress, and Tortorella said the injury situation could make the roster decisions a little more interesting than expected. Darche’s overtime winner affirmed his ability to be a finisher.
- Mike Lundin played 21:10 and showed great poise considering it was his first pro game.
- Marc Denis looked sharp and gave the team a chance to win – something Tortorella is always looking for. Denis took the bullet for Dallas’ first goal. “I made the initial save, then [Shane O’Brien] told me he accidentally batted the rebound in. I need to control the rebound better.”