TAMPA BAY, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – There’s been a clear resounding excitement with the full return of hockey. On Monday, July 13, all players participating in the season restart reported to facilities for day one of training camp. Camp started out at an acclimating pace for the guys, but Coach Cooper did well at keeping drills high tempo and increasing intensity as the days progressed. By day three of camp, the Bolts hit the ice in Amelie Arena for their first little scrimmage since the pause.
In the scrimmage it became apparent that the newer additions to the team were able to take some advantage of the pause, looking more a part of the Lightning and increasing the chemistry on the team. Addition number 1, Blake Coleman mentioned in a press conference that “things are starting to feel routine and I feel a part of the group without having to think about it.” Coach Cooper picked up on the improvements and newfound comfort, stating, “the break may have helped…players come in at the end of a season, you’re unfamiliar, then you get four months to get acclimated with staff, teammates, and coaches and it almost feels like they’re back and in their second year with the team.” As for why Coleman is an asset to the team, Cooper said, “They only thing he hasn’t done with us is finish. He competes hard, doesn’t give up on a play, his skating is exceptional, and he is fearless going to the net.”
All skills the Bolts can use to assist them in playoffs.
Coleman and Goodrow promise good chemistry out on the ice. Bogosian is settling in exceptionally well, especially after not playing for some time. Pairing up with Victor Hedman, Bogosian was asked how he manages playing with defenseman Hedman and his unique style and said that one can learn a lot from Hedman’s style of play. He stays out of his way and focuses on reading him.
Aside from the acclimation of the new guys, the two remaining questions this week are Stamkos’ health and what the guys are packing for the bubble in Toronto. Stamkos played the first half, which Cooper said was promising that he was out there and for 45 minutes. As for Stamkos’ readiness to play in the exhibition games, Cooper kept it simple, saying, “If he’s able, he will and if he doesn’t play, it won’t be because of health, it’ll be to add to the timetable for rest.” Coach mentioned that he would like to see him in one of the red robin games, so he can get some meaningful time under his belt.
As for bubble necessities, it was nearly in unison that most of the guys planned to watch a lot of Netflix and were probably in need of some show recommendations. Then came the big split, video gamer or reader? Jan Rutta will be hopping on the video games, while McElhinney and Bogosian hit the books.
It’s safe to say the Bolts are off to a promising start before heading to Toronto Sunday July 26 and getting their first playoff feels July 29 in the exhibition match versus the Florida Panthers.
Kasey Hudson is the Associate Sports Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org