Lightning feeling good in Toronto

The Tampa Bay Lightning made it to Toronto yesterday as they get ready for the round-robin playoff tournament to determine the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference.

Cooper seemed pleased with the state of the Lightning as they headed north. “I like the positivity that’s gone around our locker room. To me, it wasn’t so much the physical abilities of players. I think it was between the ears. And everything we’ve seen so far has been excellent.”

Steven Stamkos has missed all of the team practices and scrimmages so far. Stamkos has been working out on his own and has done some work with the power-play unit.

Before leaving for Toronto, Jon Cooper said that Stamkos would not play in the exhibition game Wednesday against the Florida Panthers.

Cooper went on to say he would love to get Stamkos in at least one of the round-robin games next week. It would be better to get him into two, and awesome if he could play all three.

Today part of that question may have been answered as Stamkos practiced with the team for the first time this summer.

After the practice, Stamkos speaking with the media through Zoom said “I’m feeling good. It was nice to just get back with the guys and have fun being out there. It’s kind of a day-by-day thing. I’ve been progressing. I Had the surgery in March and kind of the ups and downs of the rehab. This is the best I’ve felt on the ice, so another step forward.”

Victor Hedman the Norris Trophy finalist did not make the trip to Toronto with the team. Hedman has some personal family issues to take care of. Hedman will take a charter flight to Toronto on Friday and be ready to go next Monday for the first round-robin game.

One of the surprises of summer camp was the play of defensemen Zach Bogosian. Bogosian worked his way into the number defensive pairing with alongside Victor Hedman

Jan Rutta, Hedman’s partner during the first half of the season suffered a lower-body injury in early February and is still working his way back.

As the playoffs heat up, Rutta could get back to being paired with Hedman at some point.

The Lightning opted to take 28 players to Toronto. They could have taken 31 which is the maximum allowed, but GM Julien BriseBois thinks that 28 is sufficient.

The Lightning will go with 16 forwards, nine defensemen, and three goaltenders.

Luke Witkowski, Gemel Smith, Alex Barre-Boulet, Cal Foote, and goalie Spencer Martin did not make the team. The Lightning opted to keep Mathieu Joseph, Alex Volkov, and third goalie Scott Wedgewood.

Here is the Lightning roster for the Stanley Cup playoffs in Toronto.

Forwards: Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, Alex Killorn, Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Barclay Goodrow, Blake Coleman, Pat Maroon, Cedric Paquette, Yanni Gourde, Mitchell Stephens, Mathieu Joseph, Alex Volkov, Carter Verhaeghe

Defensemen: Victor Hedman, Ryan McDonagh, Erik Cernak, Mikhail Sergachev, Kevin Shattenkirk, Zach Bogosian, Jan Rutta, Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn

Goalies: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Curtis McElhinney, Scott Wedgewood

Alex Killorn Courtesy of the Hockey Writers 

The National Hockey League today announced the 31 team nominees for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. This trophy is presented to the player who shows leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a humanitarian contribution in his community.

Alex Killorn was the Lightning nominee for this award. The winner will be announced during the Conference Final

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