Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Lightning send Melichar down, who’s coming up?
Posted Mar 16, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Mar 16, 2009 at 02:36 PM
TAMPA - A rather uneventful practice today at the Forum. Lot of work on breakouts, which is pretty norm since the more practice at something the better you get at it, and they need all the practice they can get on breakouts. Rick Tocchet also had the players working on what he classified as “attacking the puck’‘, whether that’s from the front or from behind when they are trying to retrieve it.
Perhaps the most entertaining part of practice came toward the end when the players were doing sprints from the top of the circle to the red line. Evgeny Artyukhin and Mart St. Louis were paired up and the two had a little friendly competition going and the big man got the better of St. Louis each time, even yelling out “boo-ya’’ after one of the sprints up the ice. We all know Artyukhin is fast, real fast and you could really see just how fast he is.
Speaking of Artyukhin, it will be interesting to see how the Leafs respond to him in tomorrow night’s game after the incident at the end of Thursday’s game in Toronto where Ben Ondrus went a little haywire when Artyukhin had his stick between the Leafs’ defenseman legs. It escalated quickly, resulting in a couple of misconduct penalties to Artyukhin and Ryan Craig along with Toronto coach Ron Wilson. After the game Ondrus suggested somebody should beat the #$@# out of Artyukhin and felt part of the problem was Ondrus said Artyukhin doesn’t speak English, but of course he does as Artyukhin was more than happy to give an interview for TSN after the game to prove that, yes indeed, he can speak English.
I’ll have something in tomorrow’s paper on how Artyukhin had kind of unwillingly or unknowingly become a bit of a pest to opposing teams, as was witnessed on the recent road trip where he found himself in some pesky-like situations - one with Jarkko Ruutu in Ottawa, Ondrus in Toronto and Ville Peltonen in Florida.
One other note to pass along of interest but the team sent down defenseman Josef Melichar to Norfolk today and are expected to bring Matt Lashoff up from Norfolk for tomorrow’s game. Lashoff, acquired from the Bruins at the trade deadline, had been out with a calf laceration but played in a pair of games with the Admirals over the weekend and looks like he’s ready to go.
David Koci practiced on defense, but I’m guessing he’s a scratch again tomorrow night.
Here’s what the lines looked like at practice today:
Ryan Malone-Steven Stamkos-Marty St. Louis
Vinny Prospal-Vinny Lecavalier-Jeff Halpern
Artyukhin-Ryan Craig-Adam Hall
Matt Pettinger-Paul Szczechura-Martins Karsums