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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Lundin slowly earning more ice time
By EDUARDO A. ENCINA, Times Staff Writer
Published October 28, 2007
[Douglas R. Clifford | Times]
Take that: Lightning center Vinny Lecavalier, who entered Saturday's game with a team-high 24 penalty minutes, takes out Sabres center Derek Roy during the third period.
TAMPA - Coach John Tortorella made it a point that he doesn't want to put Mike Lundin in a situation that will stunt the defenseman's development.
Minutes had been limited for Lundin, just removed from playing college hockey at Maine. But in Thursday's 5-2 win over Philadelphia, the rookie logged 21:31, the most ice time this season and more than eight minutes above his average (13:26), a sign he is rising up the blue-line hierarchy.
"If I just keep playing well in the D-zone and limiting their scoring chances and doing all the little things, that's what's going to happen," Lundin said.
What has impressed Tortorella is the 23-year-old's awareness. He has handled different looks on defense while being patient with passing the puck and making smart decisions in transition.
"We felt he could take more minutes, and some other guys we felt were fighting a little bit, so he took some of their minutes," Tortorella said. "He doesn't have a great first pass out of the end zone. Doesn't do anything great, but with him, it's his awareness, where he is on the ice."
Tortorella said he will keep monitoring Lundin's minutes closely. He logged 19:29 on Saturday in the Lightning's 4-3 overtime loss.
"We've got something good there, and we don't want to screw it up by putting him in bad situations," Tortorella said. "You can't teach awareness at that position. That's what takes defensemen so long to develop in this league. ... He has that ability. He just has that within him."
VINNY'S PENALTIES: Center Vinny Lecavalier entered Saturday's game with a team-high 24 penalty minutes. That includes five-minute fighting majors in each of the past two games.
But Tortorella said he had no problem with Lecavalier's tussles.
"Of course we don't want to lose Vinny for minutes," Tortorella said, "but stuff like that happens, and the stature he has in the game and what's going to happen to him in checking, they're going to stop him from scoring. I think we overthink that too much as far as the top players fighting."
In fact, Tortorella said, each of Lecavalier's fights provided a spark for the team.
"Vinny's always done his own work," Tortorella said. "I think that's what puts him beyond some of the other superstars in this game. He's a tough kid, and what he's done as a player on the ice and how he's taken care of some of that business goes a long way in the locker room and with his teammates."
"It's not something I thought about doing," Lecavalier said. "It just kind of happened on the ice. It's not something I want to do all the time. There's the risk of injury and stuff like that, but it's something that happened two nights in a row for some reason."
ODDS AND ENDS: Former Lightning defenseman Nolan Pratt continued a tryout with the Sabres before the game at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Sabres, who need a veteran defenseman while Dmitri Kalanin is out for a month with a knee injury, are expected to make a decision on signing Pratt in the next two days. ... Forward Andreas Karlsson was a healthy scratch. ... Forward Andre Roy received a five-minute fighting major during the first period after fighting with Sabres wing Andrew Peters. ... Former tennis great Monica Seles, a Sabres fan, attended Saturday's game.