Tantrum a strike against complacency
By DAMIAN CRISTODERO, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 23, 2003
TAMPA -- Even if you knew nothing about hockey, you could figure out Lightning coach John Tortorella was not happy.
About 15 minutes into Wednesday's morning skate, Tortorella called his players together and delivered an expletive-heavy tirade. For emphasis, he stormed off the ice.
"Just a little kick in the butt," center Tim Taylor said.
A sloppy workout was the catalyst, but there was a larger point to be made. Tortorella did not want the team, which scored a huge victory Monday over the Senators, to fall into the same trap it did two weeks ago after beating the Red Wings.
The Lightning wasted those two points when it lost 3-2 in overtime in its next game against Atlanta. Montreal offered similar dangers, but lessons apparently were learned as Tampa Bay earned a competitive 2-2 tie.
"We're still a team learning how to win consistently," Tortorella said. "That's what turns a 65-, 70-point team into a 90-point team, knowing how to prepare each night throughout the season and give whatever you have mentally. It may not be 100 percent all the time but you have to give 100 percent of what you have. I still think we're in a deep process as far as understanding that and it scares the hell out of me."
"He told us it's not acceptable for us to come out the day of the game and not be prepared," defenseman Brad Lukowich said. "He sent a message that it's not acceptable to him and not acceptable to the other guys on the team. Every guy gives himself a gut check real quick, and now it's there."
LESS PRACTICE: Tortorella said he will hold fewer practices and more optional skates and video work. Practices will be called if players need to refocus on the system, but keeping fresh legs is just as important.
"If you lose it physically, mentally you're not able to do anything," he said. "As bad as you want to get on the ice and try to correct things, sometimes you can do it with video and you may have them mentally sharp."
DINGER: Chris Dingman got his first assist of the season against the Senators. But the value of the left wing, who has two goals, is not measured by points. He is strong on the puck, a physical presence with a team-high 68 penalty minutes and good defensively. He is minus-3 on checking lines that score little.
"He's a tryer," Tortorella said. "And when you get in this game here, the trying outweighs a lot of things as far as talent level."
ODDS AND ENDS: F Vinny Prospal sat out the first game of his two-game suspension for a cross-checking incident against the Senators. ... D Darren Rumble was recalled from AHL Springfield to replace the injured Stan Neckar (groin). ... RW Ben Clymer (groin) was placed on injured reserve.
Back to the Lightning
LightningLightning letdown averted
Tantrum a strike against complacency
Super Bowl XXXVII
John Romano: For Brad, the best days are still ahead
Gary Shelton: Lynch tough despite his neighborhood
Going on inspiration
Finally, absolution comes to a tearful Culverhouse heir
Some permanent reminders
Sideline: Who's going, who's staying
He just keeps going and going ...
Kickin' back: Depth beneath a quiet reserve
Plans still sketchy for official celebrations
Bucs' win may cut bulls loose
Nickelback geared up to shut down star-studded crew
Role players keep engine humming
High profile: Lincoln Kennedy
Finally, a reward for long-suffering fans
Practice met with excitement
What they're saying
High profile: Cosey Coleman
Goalpost Man ruled weirdest
Fan fulfills her promise with Bucs paint job
Nature lovers' paradise
Skirting peril en route to a dream
Brigham almost a Buc, but instead he's a Raider
Path to glory is long, rough for QB Gannon
Raiders outnumber Bucs 9-1 with Bowl rings
Sideline II: Bucs hope it's a sign of good things to come
Tickets are coveted corporate perk
Sports on the air: Area really enjoys its pro football
Super Bowl XXXVII: Keep focus on Gruden
Youth keeps UF unscathed in SEC
Bearcats escape Pirates
Wolfpack shocks Blue Devils
Texas coach reaches 800 victories
Sorenstam wants to tee it up against men
Augusta foes claim victory on picketing
Williams vs. Williams, again
Go-carts alter Carpentier's path
Jagr, Kolzig help Caps pad lead
Despite poor fourth, Magic edges Chicago
Walker-less Celtics can't hold off Bucks
2nd felony charge expected against McPherson
New rule softens ejections
Duel needs two overtimes
USF enters picture for CCC star Rumph
Oregon bowler ends nine-year winless skid
Daily fishing report