Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning notes: For some, focus shifts to Worlds
TAMPA - Though the Lightning will not be participating in the NHL postseason, a handful of players will have some postseason hockey to play. As of Saturday, the Lightning had four players who will take part in the World Hockey Championships, which begin Friday in Finland and Sweden. USA Hockey has announced that G
Ben Bishop, C Nate Thompson and D Matt Carle accepted invitations, while C Steven Stamkos confirmed he will be playing for Team Canada.
G Anders Lindback said he has yet to hear from Sweden officials, while D Victor Hedman said he declined an invitation because of an unspecified nagging injury he does not want to make worse.
Having the chance for more playing time, particularly in a lockout-shortened season, is a welcome situation while having the honor of representing their country in an international tournament. “I was brought up in the U.S. National Development Program, so for me this was a no-brainer,’’ Carle said. “I owe a lot to USA Hockey for helping me get to where I am today. It’s always an honor to wear the red, white and blue.’’ Carle has not represented the U.S. since winning gold with the 2004 World Junior Championship. For Stamkos, donning the Team Canada jersey is always special, and with the Olympics coming in February, it offers an opportunity to see the game on the bigger ice surface. Though he has been nursing a sore left shoulder — an MRI showed no damage — he wanted to answer the call. “My first year (in 2009) going to the World Championships, it was also an Olympic year. There were a lot of great players there and it was an unbelievable experience,’’ Stamkos said. “Obviously you want to showcase your skill, and anytime you represent your country it’s a big honor. But years before an Olympic year are maybe a little bit bigger than any other year.’’ The experience should prove more beneficial for Bishop, who has the chance to see plenty of playing time as the possible No. 1 goaltender. And with any younger goaltender, the more games, the better. “Of any of the positions, that’s the one you want guys to keep playing at the highest level possible,’’ Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “I think that will be a great experience and I’m looking forward to seeing him play over there.’’
Surprise phone call D Mathieu Roy was getting his lawn and house in Quebec ready for the summer when he received a phone call from the Lightning to see if he was interested in spending the final week of the season with Tampa Bay.
Roy, who spent this season playing for Hamburg in Germany, didn’t think twice and once the paperwork was finalized and he received his release from his club for the remainder of his contract this season, he jumped at the chance.
“I was pretty excited, and I would not pass on the chance,’’ Roy said.
What happens beyond this season, as far as getting another chance at the NHL, is unknown for Roy, who has two more years left on his contract with Hamburg.
After appearing in four games with Tampa Bay during the 2010-11 season, the 29-year-old spent last season with Charlotte in the American Hockey League before signing to play in Germany this season.
“I just came here to play and see what happens. It’s just another chance to play in an NHL game,’’ Roy said.
No advantage The first-period penalty shot attempt awarded to Benoit Pouliot was the first attempt for the Lightning since April 8, 2011, when Vinny Lecavalier scored on Florida’s Scott Clemmensen.
After Pouliot failed to beat Jacob Markstrom on Saturday, Tampa Bay is 10-for-45 (22.2 percent) all-time in penalty shot attempts.
Nuts and Bolts Tampa Bay’s minor-league team in the AHL, Syracuse, opened play Saturday in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in a best-of-five series against Portland. … G Mathieu Garon was the backup Saturday in what was almost certainly his last with the Lightning. … Ryan Malone’s first-period goal was his first since March?9.