Preseason Game Night 9/26: Lightning at Canadiens

A game like this potentially rearranges the chess board a bit: TB-3 MTL-4 (OT) Johan Holmqvist stopped 37 of 41 in the overtime loss. [url=ryan-craig]Ryan Craig[/url] led the way offensively with 1 goal and 1 assist while Martin St. Louis had 2 helpers. The other Lightning goal scorers were Eric Perrin and Filip Kuba, with Dan Boyle chipping in a single assist. The power play continued to yield dividends going 3 for 10 on the night. An interesting subplot in the game was the opportunity opened up for young defenseman [url=matt-smaby]Matt Smaby[/url] as Doug Janik sat in the penalty box for much of the first half of the game serving a major for fighting, a minor for instigation and a ten minute misconduct. Also, Dan Boyle was held out of the game in the third period with an undisclosed injury leaving Smaby to play 18:53 with a -1 rating, 1 hit and 1 blocked shot. Smaby was on the ice for the overtime winning goal, but reportedly played well otherwise. With more playing time, is Smaby sneaking up on Janik on the depth chart? Janik played 16:41 of even hockey with 2 shots, 1 hit and 3 blocked shots. Perrin plated 19:19 and was -1 with 3 shots, 1 hit and 2 blocked shots as well as an outstanding 4 takeaways, but was only 25% on draws. [url=norm-milley]Norm Milley[/url] had his poorest game statistically of the preseason going -2 in 15:13 with 1 shot and 2 hits. Mitch Fritz was -1 in 9:15 with 4 hits. [url=blair-jones]Blair Jones[/url] was -1 in 9:56 with 1 blocked shot and was 27% on draws. Nick Tarnasky continued his strategy of brawling his way onto the Lightning roster with a fight in his 8:43 of even hockey with 3 hits. So, with [url=paul-ranger]Paul Ranger[/url] still out on the blueline and Dan Boyle possibly nicked could Doug Janik or Matt Smaby sneak onto the opening night roster? In the fight for the team's open 4th line forward spot, has Norm Milley stumbled and lost ground to the skilled Eric Perrin or the tough young lion Nick Tarnasky? Also, how does Rob DiMaio's concussion tonight figure into the equation. Cuts to follow soon. Note: Jones and goaltender Karri Ramo, with the Lightning on an emergency basis, were reassigned to Springfield after the game.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

It's obvious Fritz is out.

It doesn't appear DiMaio returned from being boarded and he missed 2 -3 weeks after a similar incident last season with back troubles. What might his status be? Boyle's injury if semi-serious cements Delmore in on opening night. Without Ranger and Boyle not neccessarily at full strength, could that lead to a 7 d-man night? The schedule is not terribly busy on the front-end so phatigue shouldn't be an issue for the forwards. Perrin's face-off defeciency may have cost him from being a shoe-in. It was speculated by me that would have been an asset for him. Maybe not. Although I say Fritz is out, he may just be tied to a yo-yo string. If Atlanta goons it up in the opener, he may show up here on the 9th stay the weekend for back-to-backs with the Turds all the way through the 19th and the Flyers. I think the nice part of the speculation is we're talking about guys that bring some positives to the equation instead of saying could these guys even do a decent job here. Fritz barely fits that equation still, but I do see a useful purpose for him to spend some time here. Smaby, physically can do the job. Can he catch onto the game at this level as fast as Ranger did last year. If so, bypass the journeyman and bring him on.

things I liked

although did not hear entire 60 min game, what I liked in the Habs game that I did hear was 1) Holmqvist battling in net with the Habs outshooting Bolts 41 to 30 and 5 to zip in the OT (dont think we logged any in last two OT losses - not good) 2) agressive play and skating by Perrin; 3) Janik standing up for Rob D and especially liked Janik in the Stars game 4) and our continued PP success (even without Vinnie in the lineup). Guys I would like to see stay are Perrin and Janik - let Fritz go down and bring him back on occassions when when we need a register a TKO in a chippy division game. zepdog

Fritz, Janik vs. Smaby

After the Latendresse hit on DiMaio, Steve Begin ran Dan Boyle, Brad Richards, and Andy Delmore - in other words, some of the lesser physical and smallest players on the team. Tarnasky then fought O'Byrne. My question is... where was Fritz? Isn't this why he is/could be on the roster? Fritz should have been out there for Begin's next shift after his Begin's double-minor and stepped on him. Perhaps the close score caused Tortorella to instruct otherwise, but I found that disappointing. Janik vs. Smaby... I think Smaby's inching closer to being trusted more, but I believe Janik continues to climb the ladder. Janik was highly impressive the other night in the game that was televised (thank you, Dallas). The fact that Janik immediately stepped in to stick up for DiMaio (something Smaby would have done, no doubt, also) probably shot him up even futher in Feaster's eyes. He loves that stuff, and it was something he continually praised in Mike Egener when he was drafted. The fight between Janik and Delmore for Ranger's spot is close, but it may come down to what they want out of that player. If they want to replace any offense Ranger was going to bring, perhaps they choose Delmore. If they just want 10-15 minutes of simple play, they choose Janik. I don't know how much meritocracy overrides a vet presence and promises made to free agents in taking less money to stay in Tampa, but the question here may not be is Smaby pressing Janik, it's is Janik pressing both Sarich and Richardson for a stay-at-home role. Watching Janik the other night, he's everything Ramsay, Torts, and Feaster want in a defensive-defenseman, and he's got the skating ability to go with it. In my opinion, Janik is one of the lead stories of camp. In terms of prospects, though, Smaby is positioning himself as the No.9 dman right now. Not bad at all for a first year pro. My guess is Smaby is cut today or tomorrow and told he'll be one of the first call-ups. He's passed Rogers, Egener, and O'Brien on the chart.

I think you brought up the name I wanted to...

The one name on defense people should be bringing up when talking about the younger guys like Janik and Smaby pushing for jobs is Luke Richardson. He's up there in age and to me doesn't fit a role for a defensive player on this team as well as either Smaby or Janik. They are both mobile defenseman that have played a more defensive role in the system, but still have a shot and are willing to play on both sides of the ice. Richardson is as stay-at-home as they come and though only games will tell, I dont think he adapted well last year to the new NHL with his love of the clutch and grab. I noticed some of it in the camp but also think the coaching staff had to work with Richardson to make sure he wouldn't be the detriment here he was to Toronto last season. I personally would like to see _elmore removed from the talk and sent to the AHL if Boyle is ok for the start of the season. He is a defensive liability and I dont believe we need 1/3 of our defense being almost soley offensive players. We have Kuba who can provide offense from the D from whats been seen ala Kubina and when Ranger returns he has shown some offensive capabilities as well. To me Janik and Smaby provide more of an upside than our current 6 and 7 D (if they are indeed Richardson and _elmore) and I'd like to see them moved along for the sake of being able to provide what this teams' staff is looking for. Again all personal opinion from what I've seen so no beatdowns necessary if you dont agree :)

Richardson, Janik on a 2-way

hehe... The thing with Richardson is that they want his leadership and veteran presence. The question is do they want that as a No.6 dman or a No.7 dman/popcorn server. I would think they'd want it on the ice, but if Sydor couldn't handle quick forwards, Richardson isn't going to. I really like Smaby, but I think for his first pro year he needs to start in the minors. Maybe I'm a little naive or a homer, but after seeing what the team did with Boyle, I think they could significantly improve Delmore's game. I'm not saying give him 15 minutes, but as a No.6/7 guy who's a PP specialist or given late game comeback attempt minutes, he could be of value. The thing is, Janik is on a 2-way, so he can be sent down without going through waivers. I can't find any mention in the press release(s) about Delmore that says he's on a one-way or two-way. If he's on a one-way, he likely sticks in Tampa.

Probably tomorrow we'll see

Probably tomorrow we'll see for the most part what the defense is going to look like going into the season (obviously minus Ranger). Now I know Richardson impressed with his skating in drills and such, and hopefully he decided that his earlier invention of the clutch and grab in the 80s needed to go by the wayside and that he has to be able to skate with the forwards now. If he's anything like he was in Columbus/Toronto though, his leadership qualities are for naught as setting a poor example on how to play D isnt something this team needs haha Delmore should be the extra forward and I had even read/heard somewhere they could keep him around to play as an extra forward/defenseman solely for the PP. That I'd be ok with I think, so long as he isnt taking a regular shift on the defense. He's had several opportunities with several teams and while scoring goals on the PP, has been lackluster in his own end, being + in only one season. You hafta wonder if Denis saw them brought in after playing with them both in Columbus and thought "Oh dear" haha Janik is the bright spot and deserves hsi shot here I think. He's mobile and yet defensive minded, but does have a pretty nice shot from the point. Fits the style much better I think and I'd love for him to be the solid 6th guy ahead of both Luke and Andy. Smaby definitely should start the year in the AHL to better learn the system and whats asked of him though he has been fairly solid thus far. I wonder if he does go down who they'd pair him with?

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.