Tampa Bay Lightning forward Teddy Purcell is making a good impression on his new head coach, and at the same time, the new head coach is making a good first impression on Teddy Purcell.
Purcell, who had seen his ice time decrease over the last month, logged almost 18 minutes of playing time in Friday night’s game against the New Jersey Devils, and was out there in key situations late in the game, as well as being the first player Jon Cooper tapped on the shoulder when the shootout came along. And the way Purcell handled all of these things did not leave a negative impression on his new head coach.
“Nothing negative,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said of his impressions of Purcell so far. “I don’t know how he was before I got here, but he has been unreal off the ice, with the guys, talking the game. He has got a really great demeanor about him. He is funny, and keeps things loose. I thought in the game the other night, he was outstanding. Outstanding on the power play. He was a one man breakout getting in. When the game got going, Thompson, Teddy and Pouliot were playing against Clarkson and Elias, the big line there, so I thought he was great.”
For Purcell, getting put in these key situations has been a huge boost to his confidence, something that may not have been there earlier this season, and it has resulted in much better play on the ice of late.
“It’s huge,” Purcell said. “I had some success before, earlier this year. Sometimes I would play and sometimes I wouldn’t. Sometimes that wears on you with your old coach. Cooper has come in and shown confidence in me early and kind of let me play a little bit more which is always good. You just go out and play your game and believe in yourself and you don’t think as much.”
As Purcell also points out, it is not just the him personally that has benefitted from the new approach that Cooper has brought with him, but also the team, with tougher play and a more up-tempo offensive game. There appears to be a new found confidence all throughout the Lightning locker room.
“I think it’s helped a lot of our games, not only me personally, but our team,” Purcell said. “We are making more plays, we are harder to play against, our D is more involved. We play more of an up-tempo offensive type game, but at the same time, we take care of our own end too. For the team, I think it is good and especially for me personally. I feel like I have my confidence back, making more plays and making things happen.”
Morning skate notes
Mathieu Garon will once again start in goal for the Lightning, Garon has been historically good against the Panthers, going 5-2-2 with a 2.21 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. The rest of the lineup was yet to be determined at the end of practice. Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier (ankle) skated this morning wearing the red no-contact jersey, and it is possible that he returns to the lineup Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron was traded to Carolina this morning in exchange for Adam Hall and a 7th round draft pick in 2013. Hall was placed on waivers today, and if he clears, he will be sent to Syracuse.