SUN Hockey Pool

Lombardi not blue after benching

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

Matthew Lombardi has shown glimpses this season of being a great NHLer.

His speed is a weapon and he has the skill to back it up, which means coaches expect him to do just that each and every night.

When he doesn't, they let him know it, maybe not with words but with actions.

Which is why Lombardi was stuck on the bench for the entire second period Tuesday night during the Flames' 4-2 win in St. Louis.

Lombardi was on the ice for the Blues' first goal and then took a holding penalty in the final minute of the first period to get into head coach Jim Playfair's doghouse.

The only time his feet touched the ice in that middle period was when he skated from the penalty box to the bench.

Asked about the benching -- Lombardi played a few shifts in the third period and totalled just 5:58 ice time -- Playfair said it wasn't just the penalty that got him riled.

"It's directly linked to his effort and his contributions," said Playfair.

"Matthew has to be a lot better player for us, he has to be a lot more of an impact player for us. He has to utilize his strength and we expect him to do that."

Lombardi has 19 goals and 22 assists in 66 game this season. He had been averaging 12 to 17 minutes during the last two months.

Lombardi was able to shrug it off yesterday but don't be surprised to see the speedster a little more fired up against Nashville tonight.

"It happens. What are you gonna do?" said Lombardi. "We won the game, that's what counts."

As the team enters the final stretch, Lombardi said no one is about to rock the boat because of things like ice time.

"It's not the time of year you want to mess around with stuff," Lombardi said. "It's not time to complain about what's going on with yourself. It's not about that right now, it's about two big wins on the road."


Videos

Photos