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Getting the players on the ice for a full-fledged practice made Day 2 a lot more interesting than yesterday at Lightning training camp. With a strong contingent of fans in the seats and owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie looking on, Barry Melrose and his coaching staff finally got down to the business of teaching. With the players once again split into two teams for separate workouts, they worked on fore-checking and back-checking, defensive assignments and breakouts, among other things.
Vinny Lecavalier earned one of the first cheers from the crowd when he dove on the ice trying to reach a puck, setting an example for the younger players and showing his shoulder’s feeling better and better. Melrose spent a lot of time along the boards with both teams, diagramming his preferences on a marker board and explaining his wishes. Both practice sessions ended with a conditioning skate as players get ready for tomorrow’s scrimmage.
Melrose singled out Paul Ranger, and perhaps surprisingly, hulking defenseman Vladimir Mihalik, for their play today.
“Mihalik has all the physical tools, he just needs to compete,” Melrose said.
Off the ice, several of the marquee players were led in front of a video green screen to shoot portions of the new opening scoreboard video after the skate, and the massive new hot and cold tubs in the locker room were busy spots as muscles start to get sore.
Other notes from the day:
• VP of hockey operations Brian Lawton said young forward Dana Tyrell
will join camp tomorrow from the Traverse City Prospect Tournament, along with Ty Wishart and Chris Lawrence, who were already slated to attend.
• Forward Nick Tarnasky took a puck in the hand yesterday and didn’t skate today, though the team hadn’t yet provided an update as I write this.
• Melrose said he expects a young lineup for Saturday’s preseason opener at Pittsburgh, though Lawton said it would be a typical preseason mix of youth and veterans.
• Melrose commented that he believes in the “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” way of thinking in regard to the line of Lecavalier, Prospal and St. Louis, and he’s hoping the line of Steven Stamkos
, Ryan Malone
and Radim Vrbata can “find some magic.”
• Melrose also admitted he expects players such as Lecavalier and St. Louis to play fewer minutes than they did last season when they were among the league’s ice time leaders.