Vincent Lecavalier will finally get to play for his new head coach.
Out for Tampa Bay’s last 10 games with a broken foot — during which Jon Cooper took over coaching duties from Guy Boucher — Lecavalier is set to rejoin the Bolts tonight when they take on the ‘Canes in Carolina.
Cooper was named head coach on Mar. 25 and has coached each of the last two games, a 5-4 shootout win over New Jersey and a 3-2 shootout loss to Florida.
But Cooper’s been without the services of his captain, Lecavalier, as well as goalie Anders Lindback and forward Ryan Malone.
Tonight he’ll get No. 4 back, and a new netminder to boot.
It’s expected that Ben Bishop will get the nod against Carolina, his first game since coming over from Ottawa for Cory Conacher in a trade deadline deal.
In other Lightning news, the club has assigned Andrej Sustr, Ondrej Palat and Mike Angelidis to AHL Syracuse, recalling Dana Tyrell and Brett Connolly.
Four more locked-out NHLers bid Europea adieu on Wednesday as Michal Handzus, Tanner Glass, Dana Tyrell and Clayton Stoner announced they’d be leaving Slovak side HC Banska Bystrica.
As we’re wont to do at PHT, here’s the glorious Google Translation:
The management of the club and this opportunity to thank all three players [Glass, Tyrell and Stoner] for their absolute professionalism, great-way communication in the cabin and in the management of the club, a selfless willingness to help young players in the team as well as their performance, which could draw viewers into considerations not only in Banska Bystrica but also in the cities where they played their extra league game.
Especially huge thanks offspring Banská hockey Michal Handzus, who did not hesitate a moment and joined the team from under Urpín immediately after the start of the NHL lockout. He did so without compensation or any other costs while the insurance is paid by your own means. Michal their performance on the ice as well as the overall gaming action in the cabin greatly help the team and not just for the sports page, and proved to be Banskobystričanom all your soul.
“Gaming action in the cabin” is a new personal favorite of mine.
OK, so the end tally for all four guys…
Handzus: 9G-10A-19PTS in 19 games
Glass: 0G-1A-1PT in six games (with 75 PIM!)
Stoner: 1G-4A-5PTS in eight games
Tyrell: 0G-3A-3PTS in four games
Of the four, only Handzus is going into a contract year — the two-year, $5 million deal he signed with San Jose prior to 2011-12 expires this July.
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Dana Tyrell has agreed to a lockout deal with Slovak Extraliga club Banska Bystrica, according to the team website.
Banska has been in the news of late thanks to its aggressive pursuit of locked-out NHLers. The team first agreed to a deal with San Jose Sharks forward Michal Handzus two weeks ago, then inked Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner and Pittsburgh forward Tanner Glass within the last 14 days.
Tyrell, 23, is another nice addition for the Slovak club, though he did fall on hard times during the 2011-12 campaign after posting career highs (78 games, 6G-9A-15PTS) in 2010-11.
He missed the final 35 games of last season with an ACL injury in his right knee, the second major knee injury of his career (he suffered similar ligament damage prior to the 2009 World Juniors while playing an exhibition game for Team Canada.)
That said, the Lightning though enough of Tyrell’s game to sign him to a two-year, $1.2 million deal last season, one that will keep him in Tampa Bay through 2014.
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said what Tyrell brings to the ice is vital to his team’s success.
“I strongly believe that any team that does well has a lot of good foot soldiers, and he’s definitely one of those guys,” Boucher told the Lightning website. “People will label players as a hitter, a fighter, a scorer or a passer. There’s one type of individual we never label and they are puck retrievers. They’re probably the most important guys in the game.
“That’s what [Tyrell] does best. If he’s not able to play, it’s less pucks for the team, for sure.”
Nine. That’s how many Lightning players are out with injuries right now and for head coach Guy Boucher, it’s made life miserable in Tampa.
After seeing the Lightning come within a game of the Stanley Cup finals, the Bolts are buried at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. For Boucher, it’s been more than trying to win games with constant injuries as he tells Lonnie Herman of NHL.com.
“Right now, it doesn’t really matter — home or on the road — it’s a question of injuries. Malone and Tyrell are out and half of Norfolk is coming up,” Boucher said, in reference to the call-ups from the team’s AHL affiliate. “Upper body, lower body, back of the body and top of the head … we’ve got them all now. To me, it’s just a blur right now.”
It might be a blur, but the Lightning have won three in a row. Getting great play from Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Vincent Lecavalier is expected but they’ve had to step up even more being so shorthanded.
The Lightning having to go without three starting defensemen (Victor Hedman, Mattias Ohlund, Marc-Andre Bergeron) as well as starting forwards like Ryan Malone, Adam Hall, and Ryan Shannon it makes staying consistent a big problem. For now, Boucher will hope that everyone can get healthy while their slew of AHL call-ups can help the team rally in the second half.
Tampa Bay was able to win Game 6 without one of their top contributors in the playoffs in Sean Bergenheim. The former Islanders prospect broke out in a big way in these playoffs scoring nine goals, a mark that puts him second in the playoffs behind David Krejci and Martin St. Louis. Considering that Bergenheim is a third line player, his offensive output is stunning and the sort of thing that playoff legends are made of. With him out of the lineup, the Lightning’s ability to score from three lines takes a hit.
This morning, Bergenheim took part in the team’s morning skate getting about 15 minutes of work in and doing some drills. Could we see another miraculous injury recovery out of Bergenheim? Coach Guy Boucher is tempering things just a bit.
CSN New England reports that Bergenheim will be doubtful for tonight’s Game 7.
Q. Sean Bergenheim looked a little bit better out there – at least to us – this morning. How optimistic are you that he’ll be available for you in Game 7 tonight?
COACH BOUCHER: I wouldn’t say optimistic for now. It’s better. He might try the warm-up. We’ll see. I’ve still got to talk to my therapists and doctors. There’s been some improvement. So to what extent, we’ll have to wait and see, but doubtful.
The Lightning did just fine scoring goals in Game 6 without Bergenheim as Martin St. Louis, Teddy Purcell, and Steve Stamkos all stepped up in a big way to provide the offense they needed to win. On the road for Game 7, however, it’s a different beast entirely and hoping that the Bruins will fail miserably on their power play for a second straight game while Tim Thomas struggles is asking for a lot. Chances are things will be tightened up on both sides of the puck and goals will be at a premium.
As for who takes Bergenheim’s spot should he not go, it’ll likely be Dana Tyrell once again. He played in Bergenheim’s place in Game 6 but played just over six minutes on the fourth line. Don’t expect much from him as Boucher is likely to ride the top three lines hard tonight. Then again, Tyrell could end up being the most unlikely of heroes or goats. Game 7’s have a funny way or playing out like that.