Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Pregame and In-game vs. Ottawa (Dan Boyle now in)
Posted Jan 24, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Jan 25, 2008 at 12:44 AM
The title says it all. Boyle not back tonight. And really, once he didn’t play on Tuesday, it was pretty evident in my mind he wouldn’t play tonight. Why put him in for just one game? I guess the plan is to give him the extra weekend to prepare to return after the All-Star break, so I guess now we look to Tuesday against Buffalo for his return. As one of the team trainer’s told me on Wednesday, we’re keeping you guessing, huh? Yup, indeed they are….
Johan Holmqvist back in net tonight looking for his fifth consecutive victory. I didn’t get a chance to see who came off the ice last, but Lightning coach John Tortorella said the lineup was the same, so I guess (there’s that word again) that means Kyle Wanvig is a healthy scratch again. I expect the lines will be the same as they ended Tuesday (the morning skate was optional, so no line rushes) but at practice on Wednesday they were as follows:
Vinny Prospal-Vinny Lecavalier-Jason Ward
Jan Hlavac-Brad Richards-Marty St. Louis
Andre Roy-Chris Gratton-Mathieu Darche
Nick Tarnasky-Craig MacDonald-Andreas Karlsson
Tortorella talked a lot this morning about situational play and how it escaped the team on Tuesday against Edmonton. There were two particular plays he talked about - the first involved two Lightning forwards deep behind the net on the forecheck, getting caught and the third-man down too low leading to a 3-on-2 in which Edmonton scored their second goal. Then later in the period, Andreas Karlsson left a drop pass for Andre Roy just inside the opposing blue line while trying to protect the lead. It’s plays like that which get players in Tortorella’s dog house. He’s very big on situational play, and for somebody like Karlsson who has been fighting to get in the lineup and stay in the lineup, the smart play is to get the puck in deep and make the opposing team have to work to get the puck back and go the length of the ice to try and score.
PREGAME UPDATE: So much for the truth being told. Dan Boyle just skated out onto the ice and is going to play tonight. It appears that Doug Janik is the odd man out.
I’m on a bit of a soapbox right now with this statement, but this really bugs the #%#$! out of me. John Tortorella was asked directly if Dan Boyle was playing tonight and his answer was no. And why shouldn’t we have believed him? And to see him come out means we were just flat out lied to. We in the media are assigned to gather information and that’s all the question was meant for this morning. And when we are told that, either answer the question honestly or say something else, don’t just flat out lie. My guess is that nothing changed from this morning, but Tortorella likely didn’t want Boyle being talked to by the media. As if we are the downfall of man kind. Like if we talked to Boyle this morning, seven hours before gametime, it was going to affect his game tonight. I don’t buy it. All we ask for is honesty. It’s not the first time I’ve been lied to and it won’t be the last. But it doesn’t make it right.
I have a lot of respect for Tortorella and normally being honest is one of strenghts. And normally a question like that might garner a response along the lines of “none of your business’‘, and that’s just fine. It’s not the truth to the answer, but it’s not a lie. And I understand that Boyle saw the specialist which preformed the surgery on his hand today and he got clearance. That’s fine, but you can’t tell me Tortorella didn’t know that this morning. And if he didn’t, then I apologize in advance. But I know how much Torts is involved on all this stuff, and while his mantra has consistently been when it came to questions about Boyle is that he doesn’t want to hear about it until the trainers say he’s ready, and maybe that happened this afternoon after the Boyle saw the doctor. And maybe that’s the truth, but I still think we were lied to.
Soapbox rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled in-game blogger.
POSTGAME COMMENT ON THIS
Tortorella didn’t really talk after the game, but this is what I’ve been able to piece togther about today. And I gather that Tortorella honestly did not know Boyle was playing. The surgeon who worked on Boyle’s wrist came over from Orlando for a quick checkup around 12:30 p.m. and cleared him to play sometime around or after 1 p.m. So while Boyle was preparing to play, he said it was 50/50 at best when he went to sleep Wednesday night. He knew the doctor was coming and the hope was Boyle would be cleared for after the All-Star game, but he got the go-ahead to return. I had an emotional reaction, and it did indeed need to come out as a vent. So I apoligize for mischarcterizing the situation as it appears Tortorella was upfront with us in the morning. I guess when the media gets lied to or misguided so many times, you get a little bitter when these kind of situations arise. But everything sounds like everything was on the up-and-up. And at least Boyle’s voice is well rested after sitting in silence for the majority of the past three months as he was forbidden to speak to the media.
If you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything. So I guess I just won’t say anything.
This stat tells it all: Ottawa shots on goal - 14; Tampa Bay shots on goal - 4
(And please tell who is keeping track of these stats - Ottawa zero takeaways and Tampa Bay only four giveaways????)
Dan Boyle ice time: 8:14, a minus-1 with one blocked shot
Read the above post.
Although the one nice thing to say is that Dan Boyle scored a goal in his season debut. Unfortunately the goal cut the Tampa Bay deficit to four goals!!!
One other note to pass along to you guys here because I know you are starving for information and something to point to:
Brett Hull and Dave Taylor, two high execs with Dallas, are in the pressbox for the second game in a row as is Chicago head pro scout Marc Bergevin. You can also add to the list Phoenix Director of Player Personnel Tom Kurvers. Anaheim director of pro scouting Rick Paterson is listed on the roster, but he lives in the area and is frequently at games, so it’s not a big surprise to see him here, but you never know. Anaheim and Tampa Bay were trading partners last year.
This is almost a sure sign the Lightning are in full-fleged sell mode and I would expect a handful of deals will be made before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.