The Tampa Bay Lightning had the day off on Tuesday following the scrimmage on Monday. It was a good break from the most competitive day that the players have seen during the summer training camp and it gave the coaching staff an extra day to tweak practice plans based on what they saw.
It was fun finally seeing the players compete in uniform even if it was against their own teammates. Despite the action being played at less than full speed, their were moments that stuck out during the 45+ minutes of game play plus the shootout.
- Yanni Gourde pretty much plays everything at 100%.
- The hitting, while never at full game impact, picked up as the game went along. As the players got into the flow, there was a little more physical contact as they fought for the puck in the corners and along the boards.
- Cal Foote had a couple of solid plays. His play was reminiscent of the first few games he played in Syracuse as a rookie. It was a little tentative at times, almost as if he’s overthinking things and trying not to make a mistake. Then there are flashes where you can see the inherent talent. He made a nice play in traffic behind the net to get the puck out of danger and his positioning was pretty good throughout the game. It’s not unreasonable to think he has a shot to make the team out of camp next season.
- The rust showed on the entry passes into the offensive zones. It was pretty much a teamwide trend, especially early in the game. Passes were just off the end of sticks or sent to empty spaces where you would assume there would normally be a player. No matter how much they work on things like that in practice, it’s always different in a game. Expect Friday’s scrimmage to be a lot sharper.
- Jeff Halpern called a pretty good game as the solitary referee on the ice. Although, he did whistle Erik Cernak for an interference penalty that the Slovakian defenseman took exception to, slamming the penalty box door closed on his way off the ice.
How does a team pack for what is essentially a road trip that could last upwards of two months? Heavily. Kyle Burger, a reporter with the local Tampa ABC affiliate, had a quick story on the challenge facing equipment manager Ray Thrill and his staff. I always wanted to know how much a glove dryer weighed (the answer appears to be 122 lbs). I did not see a separate line item for Coach Cooper’s chewing gum. [Twitter]
#Lightning are packing for a 32-game, two-month road trip into the NHL bubble in Toronto.— Kyle Burger (@kyle_burger) July 22, 2020
Here's a look at all the gear that will accompany the #Bolts on the team plane - 9,138 pounds. pic.twitter.com/SwUjg8powh
Also, if you match up the item # with the players’ uniform numbers in that first photo it looks like Scott Wedgewood (#29) is the third goalie while Alex Volkov (#92), and Mathieu Joseph (#7) are the extra forwards. That gives them a total of 28 players and is a good indication that everyone is healthy. Since this is pure speculation based off of a manifest that was Tweeted out it is subject to change, of course.
Joe Smith at The Athletic (subscription required) had a Q&A session about the team today. There wasn’t any earth shattering news revealed, but it doesn’t look like team owner Jeff Vinik is part of the traveling party. Although, should the Lightning manage to make it to the final round, one can assume that might change. If the league is allowing family to enter the bubble starting with the conference finals, it’s likely they would let upper management in as well.
It’s pretty amazing that the NHL managed to get everyone into training camp and have only two players test positive. Erik Erlendsson (subscription required and recommended) wrote about how the Lightning players are dealing with it, and the precautions the team took following the positive tests they had in Phase II. According to Coach Cooper the team is going beyond the league recommendation and testing daily. Testing only goes so far and the coach said it’s all about making the commitment,
“We are committed to this this season going on and pulling this off but it’s only going to be pulled off if everybody pulls their weight,’’ Cooper said. “That means you gotta be responsible and you have to go through all the protocols and guidelines that are set out for us. You have to be committed to it. Our guys have and it shows that pretty the whole entire league has and some of these other leagues have.
New and Notes
It seems that there is a possible reason why Tukka Rask missed a few practices for the Boston Bruins last week and it has nothing to do with COVID-19. He was spotted wearing a splint on one of his fingers on his catching hand. He claims that he injured it “a couple of weeks ago doing box jumps.” Yet another reason to avoid going to the gym. [Stanley Cup of Chowder]
It seems the goaltender situation for the New York Rangers might be clearing up. Igor Shesterkin appears to be the front runner to be the starter when they face off against the Carolina Hurricanes. That means plenty of shots of Henrik Lundqvist looking devilishly handsome on the bench or wherever they stash the back up goalies in the playoffs. [New York Post]
From that vantage point, Lunqvist should have a good view of teammate Artemi Panarin doing his thing on the ice. In his first year with the Rangers, Panarin was named a finalist for the Hart Trophy along with Leon Draisaitl and Nathan MacKinnon (hey, those are the same three guys up for the Ted Lindsay award). Panarin is earning that big contract. [Blueshirt Banter]
Panarin dominated at a level the Rangers haven’t seen in quite sometime, including leading the league in even strength points, goals. wins, and standings points above replacement.
Not only was he a force in the offensive zone, but Panarin made his impact known in the defensive and neutral zones, which often times resulted in him generating offensive chances for the Rangers.
The NHL and NBC released the TV schedule for the
first round sorry “Qualifying Round” of the playoffs. How about TEN hours of live game coverage per day from August 1-5? That sounds super. Games airing on NBC are exclusive to that channel while the games airing on NBCSN (which includes the first two Lightning round robin games) and USA are subject to the league’s usual blackout policies. So folks in the Tampa Bay area will see those games on Fox Sports Sun with Rick Peckham and Brian Engblom calling the games from Amalie Arena. [NBC Sports]
Just a few more days left of training camp! Keep washing your hands and wear a mask, people!