Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.
Veteran wing Ryan Callahan, 32, played in his first game since Jan. 7, his season ending with a February follow-up procedure on his right hip. Callahan was a bit nervous before the game.
"I was riding the bike before the game and I'm like, 'I haven't had this feeling in a while for a preseason game," Callahan said....
09/22/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.
It had been so long that Stamkos, 27, said he forgot some of his pregame routines as he headed to Amalie Arena to face the Predators.
"Once I got to the rink, they come pretty natural," he said.
The routines weren't the only things that returned quickly for Stamkos in a dazzling exhibition debut Friday night. It took just 33 seconds for him to make a splash....
The NHL released its official logo for the 2018 All-Star Game, which will be held at Amalie Arena in Tampa Jan. 28. It's fitting there's palm trees, water and a sunset tones in the logo.
Lightning season ticket members will get the chance to to buy tickets for the weekend in a rolling pre-sale which begins late next week. Tickets will start at $205 each and include the skills event on Saturday, Jan. 27 and the All-Star Game....
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is curious how he'll feel - and play - in tonight's exhibition game against Nashville.
"I think everybody is," assistant coach Todd Richards said.
Stamkos, 27, hasn't played in a game since tearing the lateral meniscus in his right knee Nov. 15 against Detroit. He has said his knee feels the best it has since surgery, and has had no restrictions since training camp started last week....
For the Lightning, there was a lot to like in Wednesday's 4-3 exhibition win in Carolina.
Sure, Sergachev, 19, delivered with a goal and plus-3 in a team-high 22:16, a great way to start his audition for a spot.
But other players stood out, too.
*Forward Adam Erne scored a goal for the second straight game. Both came in front of the net, this one a spin-and-shoot. Erne, who had an extended callup late last season, is in a tough battle to crack the roster....
09/20/17 Lightning Strikes
RALEIGH, N.C. — Mikhail Sergachev said he was super nervous early in Wednesday's exhibition debut with the Lightning.
"I was shaky," he said.
You can't blame him. The defenseman will have the spotlight on him all preseason, especially after being the centerpiece of the Jonathan Drouin blockbuster deal with Montreal in June. Whether Sergachev makes the team out of camp, as opposed to going back to juniors, is the biggest story line not involving Steven Stamkos' right knee....
Ryan Callahan has been friends with Brian Boyle for a long-time, the two veterans playing together for seven years between the Rangers and the Lightning.
So when Callahan, 32, found out a couple days ago that Boyle, 32, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, the news hit him hard.
"Honestly, just shocking," Callahan told the Tampa Bay Times Wednesday.
The type of bone-marrow cancer, detected through blood work in Boyle's camp physical, was caught early, and can largely be treated by medication....
Lightning forward prospect Taylor Raddysh was among the first cuts in camp, the team trimming its roster by six on Wednesday.
Raddysh, 19, will be reassigned to his junior team (Erie Otters), where he racked up 42 goals (109 points) in 58 games last season. Raddysh joined forward Alexey Lipanov, this year's third round pick, who will be heading to Barrie (OHL), Chris Paquette (Peterborough, OHL) and defenseman Oleg Sosunov (Moose Jaw), whom the Times profiled this morning....
For touted prospect Mikhail Sergachev, his audition to make the Lightning takes another big step tonight in his exhibition debut in Carolina.
Sergachev, 19, acquired from Montreal in June in the Jonathan Drouin blockbuster, will be given every chance to make the opening night roster. But Sergachev has to show during the preseason that he can handle the load. If Sergachev isn't on the Lightning roster, he'll have to return to juniors for another year in Windsor....
There's no question the NHL has made it an emphasis to crack down on slashing this season.
"What? I didn't notice," Lightning coach Jon Cooper joked.
You can't blame Cooper for his sarcasm, especially when it came after nine slashing penalties were called in Tampa Bay's 2-1 loss to Carolina in Tuesday's exhibition opener. It made for 25 minutes of special teams, nearly half the game....
09/19/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.
But Esposito, 75, also shared some high praise, saying Sosunov reminded him of a young Zdeno Chara, the 6-foot-9 Bruins captain.
Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness, who coached Chara as an Islanders rookie, said Sosunov is a better skater than Chara was at that time. ...
Just three months ago, defenseman Cal Foote was getting his name called in the first round of the NHL Draft.
And now Foote, 18, is preparing for another milestone, his first NHL exhibition tonight. The Lightning hosts Carolina at 7:30 p.m.
"Kind of a dream my whole life, my whole childhood," Foote said. "So it’s going to be a fun moment, that’s for sure."...
When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked he thought the 6-foot-8 Russian would hit the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
But Esposito also felt Sosunov reminded him of a young Zdeno Chara, the long-time Bruins defenseman.
Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness, who coached Chara with the Islanders at the beginning of his career, could see that....
09/18/17 Lightning Strikes
BRANDON — This time last year, it was Slater Koekkoek's job to lose.
Koekkoek, 23, a first-round pick in 2012, was coming off an impressive performance in the run to the Eastern Conference final. But while the smooth-skating defenseman did make his first opening night roster — "a dream come true" — it didn't last long. Koekkoek was a healthy scratch the first week, then sent to AHL Syracuse, where he would spend the second half of the season....
This time last year, it was Slater Koekkoek's job to lose.
Koekkoek, 23, the former Lightning first-round pick, was coming off an impressive performance in the run to the Eastern Conference Final. The smooth-skating defenseman did make his first opening night roster - "a dream come true" - but it didn't last long. After a so-so camp, Koekkoek was scratched the first week, then sent to AHL Syracuse, where he spent the second half of the season....