There have been plenty of new additions to the Tampa Bay Lightning this off-season. A few of those new faces were brought in to tighten up the defense and add some depth as well as experience. Camp was held at the Brandon Ice Forum Sunday morning and from the first skate of the day through the scrimmages that ensued – it was clear where the strengths were so far.
“I guess if we’re going with a defense-first attitude it really showed up today,” Head Coach Jon Cooper said on Sunday after a little chuckle.
Just a single goal was scored on just 30 shots in the two scrimmage games spanning a total of about 44 minutes. Something that is promising to see considering defense was something that’s been a focus since the end of last season.
“If that’s gonna be our first look at things with some of the new things we’ve put in, I’m pretty happy with that.” Cooper continued
Despite it being the first scrimmages of camp everyone seemed geared up and ready to get out on the ice and throw their weight around – within reason.
Forward J.T. Brown smiled when asked about the physicality of the team in just it’s first game situations of camp.
“You wanna go out there and be physical,” Brown said. “But at the same time some of these guys are gonna be your teammates and you don’t obviously wanna take their heads off but you still wanna be in the right position.”
New forward Brian Boyle, who came over from the New York Rangers on July 1, was the first Bolts player to draw blood in camp. He was cut just over his left eye from the helmet of another player while finishing a check early in the first scrimmage. He laughed about it when describing how it happened.
“It’s crazy that I drew blood because these eyebrows usually protect me from pretty much anything.”
The Lightning open up their exhibition season this Tuesday night against the Nashville Predators at the Amalie Arena. Puck drops at 7:30 PM.
– Steven Stamkos did not participate in practice or scrimmages today due to a scheduled day off.
– Forward Jonathan Drouin, who’s been nursing an upper-body injury, did skate a bit this morning before camp opened but did not participate in team drills or scrimmages.