New Lightning wing Ryan Malone has agreed to provide a daily update from training camp for Tampabaylightning.com from today until the team departs for Prague next week.
I wasn’t able to update you on camp yesterday because I had to jet after practice. Sorry about that! As for today, we’re now in Day 4 of training camp and a lot of guys have really stepped it up and have shown how bad they want it. We’ve been scrimmaging the past two days and the guys have done a really good job battling, but it’s kind of hard when you’re playing against your own teammates because you want to make sure you’re playing hard and strong, but you don’t want to hurt anybody out there.
During the scrimmages the guys are showing a lot of heart. Guys like Jason Ward are going down and blocking shots and Zenon Konopka has really been a presence so far, creating a lot of chances offensively. From his stats in the AHL, you can see that he can put the puck in the back of the net. He’s showing a lot of heart out there and is leading the way, but there are a lot of other guys who I’m sure have impressed a lot of people.
I’ve been lined up with Vrbata and Stamkos the past two days and we’re working on our chemistry. It’s obviously tough because Vrbata played out in the West last season and it’s Stammer’s first pro camp so we’re taking it slow, trying to make simple plays and just communicating out there.
Barry (Melrose) knows what he wants out of us. He’s explained what roles he wants guys to play and as a player, you like to have a straightforward coach who lets you know what he expects. After that, it’s your job to go out there and get it done.
Half of the guys are on their way to Pittsburgh for our first pre-season game tomorrow, but I’m staying back. I’ll check back with you again on Sunday.