New Lightning wing Ryan Malone has agreed to provide a daily update from training camp for Tampabaylightning.com until the team departs for Prague.
Day 7 is here! Today’s skate was very similar to yesterday’s. We were just, again trying to get a good sweat in, shooting the puck around and just getting ready for tonight’s game against the Rangers.
We lost to Pittsburgh yesterday by a score of 3-2, but for my first pre-season game I thought the team played pretty well. Myself, [Stamkos] and [Vrbata] are still trying to figure out where we each like to go with the puck, but our chemistry is definitely getting better. It’s kind of tough to tell what kind of chemistry you have when you’re playing in scrimmages during training camp because everyone’s running around, but when it’s a game situation like yesterday, it’s a little easier to play out there.
I think Stammers and Vrby are starting to realize that down around the net I can kind of control the play a little bit and can move the puck around to them in the soft spot and we can create some chances that way. Sometimes Vrby likes to hold onto the puck a little longer, so I just have to slow it down a little bit when he’s got control of it. Like I’ve said though, it really is all a matter of playing a little more together and getting used to each other. But, for a first game I thought we did a great job of communicating and supporting the puck and we had quite a few chances, so that’s all you can really ask for.
The guys played with a lot of intensity last night and I think that’s the way it’s going to be all year. We’re going to go out there and make sure we’re finishing our checks and playing physical. Barry wants us to play that kind of old-time hockey and I don’t think too many guys on this team have a problem playing that way. That is a good thing, too, because it creates a lot of space and different scoring opportunities. Some guys might hear footsteps and turn the puck over and we can capitalize on that late in a game.
Still, the bottom line is you have to win games during the regular season. As an exhibition game, you kind of look at it as a positive, move forward and take that confidence into tonight’s game.
It’s me, Stammers and Vrby again tonight and I think we’re just going to try and build off of some of the opportunities we had last night. Speaking for myself, I’m expecting better things. I think Stammers is expecting better things, hopefully a goal tonight, and then we’ll take it from there.
It’s time to hit the showers and get my things together for tonight’s game. I’ll be back tomorrow with more!