Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pierre Cedric Labrie is spending most of his time trying to skate his way into the Tampa Bay lineup. He has played one game in the early going of the 2013 season, logging 4:54 of total ice time.
Labrie is quite motivated though to improve specific aspects of his game during practice, hoping to translate that progress into more time in the lineup.
"I don't want to have any turnovers, now that is my goal," Labrie said. "I am trying to be focused on no turnovers and be on the right side of the puck so I don't get taken out of the lineup if I got in."
When Labrie isn't hammering over what he needs to do to be penciled into the Bolts gameday lineup, he's paying close attention to where he came from before he started playing with the Lightning, namely the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL.
In the free time Labrie has, he watches his old AHL teammates with the Syracuse Crunch. He was able to catch the Crunch's game against the St. John's IceCaps from January 25th, where Syracuse goalie Dustin Tokarski dropped the gloves against St. John's goalie Eddie Pasquale during a larger line brawl between the two clubs.
"Oh yeah I put it on my (Facebook) wall," he said. "I also put a video of the recap of the game and (Tokarski) had a pretty good line brawl..it was a really entertaining game to watch," Labrie said.
Labrie dropped his own gloves this season at the start of play, right off of the face off when the Lightning traveled to New York to play the Islanders.
Labrie also got to enjoy the Tampa Bay area weather on Wednesday while the team had the day off from practice. He, Keith Aulie, and Anders Lindback went on a fishing excursion to St. Pete, although they caught more birds than they did fish.
After casting his reel, Labrie realized that he had caught something big, but it wasn't a fish... It was a pelican.
"The pelican just went for it and bit on my hook, it was epic," Labrie said. "Then it was survival mode and I had to help it so I threw it back, unhooked him, and took a picture with him and let him go...it was pretty funny."
Labrie, admittedly an animal lover, made sure the pelican went away unharmed.
"He knew I was there to help him," he said.
That wasn't the only thing he caught either.
"I threw another cast and a seagull got caught in my lane by the wing and I was like ‘What, I am here for fish,' that was pretty funny," Labrie laughed.
"It was pretty choppy on the water and a lot of wind so the only thing coming after me was the birds."
"Nacho Labrie" has been the forwards' nickname anoited to him since last season, but it could change to something bird related. Even Labrie liked the idea.
"Oh I love that," he said.
Labrie might not go fishing for awhile but he is itching to get into the Lightning lineup, which could be as soon as Saturday against the New York Rangers. Coach Guy Boucher hinted at having a different looking lineup against New York since the Bolts will be on the heels of a back-to-back.
Until then, Labrie waits.
"I take it day to day and the team is doing good so I understand you can't take the guys out who are doing an amazing job on the ice to put another guy in," he said. "There is no reason for it so right now I am just patient, every day I am trying to get everything better."