Truculence not needed here: Tampa Bay coach stresses "no fighting" in training camp


guyboucher2.jpgWhile the Toronto Maple Leafs are becoming the poster boys for “truculence” another NHL team doesn’t want to see anyone dropping the gloves during training camp at all. Damian Cristodero tells us about Lightning head coach Guy Boucher’s wishes to see his team work on things other than punching each other in the face during practice.

“This is not an extermination camp. It’s a training camp,” he said. “They all have our jersey on, which means they are part of this family. They belong to us, and we start that respect. It starts here for me. We don’t want anyone breaking their hands.”

Beyond that, Boucher said, there is no room on the roster for players who only brawl.

“If they’re just going to fight, they’re not good enough to play at our level,” he said. “If they’re good enough, they’re going to show it … which means they’re going to earn their way into at least one exhibition game. They can dance with whoever they want from there.”

This was an adjustment you could see coming. Boucher and GM Steve Yzerman discussed this a bit during the summer, but when the Lightning let pugilist Zenon Konopka walk away in free agency and with the efforts they’ve made to help Steve Downie evolve his game into one where he’s an agitator and power forward, it makes sense for the team. After all, if a guy’s only skill on the ice is to fight, that doesn’t give a coach great flexibility with the lineup and instantly makes that line he plays on a liability.

While some teams seem to never drop the gloves (the Red Wings being one of them) making it such a public point is a unique thing to do. After all, fighting is part of the game and always has been. Stressing that they’re a team and they need to work together sure does help hammer the point home, however.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo

Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
AP Photo
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.