Lightning coach John Tortorella was an assistant with Phoenix when Bruins coach Mike Sullivan played there. And Boston assistant Norm MacIver was Tampa Bay's coaching representative last season at AHL Springfield, the affiliate Tampa Bay shared with the Coyotes.
"I hope we kick them tonight," Tortorella said Friday before the Lightning's 5-1 victory over the Bruins. "I hope we kick them every time we play them. But I wish them the best as they go through their journey this year."
Tortorella said Sullivan, who is in his first head-coaching gig, will have the Bruins prepared.
"He's a student of the game," Tortorella said. "He understands the little things that are going to make that team successful. And he's a good man."
Right back at you.
"I have the utmost respect for him," Sullivan said. "He was a real X's and O's guy and has a real understanding of the game. And he's a straight shooter. He's one of those guys you know exactly where you stand. That's why he's as effective as he is, because of his honesty and integrity."
STILLMAN ANSWERS: Once again Cory Stillman had to deal with Vinny Prospal. Asked after the game if his three-point performance was gratifying because of comparisons with last season's points leader, the left wing reiterated he is not a Prospal clone.
"I'm not replacing Vinny Prospal," he said. "He's a great player. But I've got to come in and play my own game, and win people over, win my teammates and coaching staff over with the way I play and not trying to be someone I'm not.
"Was it nice to score? Yeah, so I don't have people second-guessing me."
MACIVER'S VIEW: MacIver got a good look at right wing Nikita Alexeev and center Alexander Svitov when they played for Springfield. Both were sent to the minors to start this season, and MacIver said he is puzzled why they are having difficulty shaping their games.
"I thought it was a natural progression for them to step in and solidify their places on this team," he said. "They both have a ton of potential. Svitov, his skill level is unbelievable. But they're both so young."
Both made an impression.
"There were a couple of games in Springfield last year when Svitov was so much better than anyone on the ice, it was ridiculous. And Alexeev as well," MacIver said. "It's just a matter of being more consistent. Again, they're young and maturity is a big part of this."
ODDS AND ENDS: Left wing Andre Roy and defensemen Janne Laukkanen and Darren Rumble were scratched. ... Left wing Ruslan Fedotenko and defenseman Dan Boyle will sign autographs from 2:30-3:30 p.m. today at the Kash n' Karry at 2525 N Dale Mabry Highway. ... Brooke Bollea, Hulk Hogan's daughter, sang the national anthem.