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The Lightning continued to take advantage of their rare down time today with two separate practice sessions. With a few season ticket holders in attendance for their exclusive open practice, the Lightning continued to work on, amongst other things, special teams. With Tampa Bay marred in a 0-for-23 slump on the power play they have been putting in significant time working with the man advantage. It appears to be working as the PP units were much more successful today than yesterday.
It appears Rick Tocchet’s biggest concern on the power play is finding people to man the point. Today’s practice featured five forwards and no defenseman serving on a single unit. Tocchet said that he and Mike Sullivan both agreed it was worth a shot putting all offensive players out there. They have also been talking to point men about getting shots over stick blades in front but below the knees.
Much was made about leadership today as Tocchet spoke to the assembled media. Tocchet met extensively with captain Vinny Lecavalier after practice today and while he didn’t get into specifics Tocchet did say, “Vinny is learning what it takes. Its not just about him, its about the team. [Jeff] Halpern coming back really increases the leadership.” Halpern, who has served as a captain for the Washington Capitals and Team USA at the World Championships, is expected to return to the line-up Thursday against Colorado. Ryan Malone
, also expected to return, should also be able to add additional leadership.
It appears Tocchet is still fuming after Saturday’s loss to Ottawa, saying, “Games like the one against Ottawa can’t happen. Its unacceptable. The guys care, they are upset, and that’s a start.”