Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Lightning Bring Back Sully and other Bolts of Info

By JC De La Torre

The Tampa Bay Lightning brought back one of the members of the old regime, Mike Sullivan, to return to the role of associate coach with the hockey club. Sullivan was head coach in Boston and was a key member of John Tortorella's staff last season. Sullivan was already being paid the balance of his contract by the Lightning, so it made natural sense to management to bring him back.

"He has the same philosophy," Tocchet told the St. Petersburg Times, "He wants to play a high-tempo game and practice at a really high tempo. He wants guys to be more aggressive on the puck."

"It's easier when you have established relationships," Sullivan explained to the Times, "I went through the process with Brian Lawton and Tocc, and wanted to make sure it was the right fit for both of them. It's important coaches share the same philosophy. It was a fairly smooth process, and here I am."

Sullivan is expected to work on the defense and share some power play coaching duties. Assistant Coach Cap Reader has been re-focused on goaltending and will also contribute in other unspecified capacities throughout the organization.

In other Lightning news, Tampa Bay appears to be getting healthy again. Karri Ramo was sent back to Norfolk, a clear indication that Mike Smith is ready to at least dress. The Times also reports that D Lukas Krajicek may be able to play tonight against the Rangers.

Finally, when watching tonight's game, keep an eye on the Bolts presence in front of the net. Head Coach Rick Tocchet will - in fact, he'll be grading the players on their time in front of the net. He calls it "net presence" and each player will get a rating on how often and how well they created chaos in front of the opposing goaltender. The prevailing belief is those who do well with Net Presence will get more time on the ice. Tocchet is a strong believer in that most goals in the National Hockey League are scored by players standing near, infront of, or by the goaltender.

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