Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL [Print without images]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Lightning lighten up with strip shootout

ESPN.com news services

The Tampa Bay Lightning didn't face an opponent Tuesday night, but they almost saw too much of one another.

In an effort to inspire more team unity, Lightning players competed in a post-practice game of strip shootout, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

Players faced off in a series of shootouts, forced to lose a piece of equipment every time their attempt was thwarted. The final player to find the back of the net?

Martin St. Louis, who (in order) lost his helmet, elbow pads, gloves, jersey, both leg pads, both skates, his leggings and socks before finally finishing one off. He had to attempt one shot with just one skate on, then took his final shots while wearing sandals from the locker room.

"I never saw a guy take his skates off before," left wing Ryan Malone, one of the organizers, said to the newspaper. "But like you saw, it was a lot of fun out there. It was just something to do with some extra time; kind of lighten the mood. It's always good to do stuff together."

Malone and center Jeff Halpern rounded up the players for the game, with Malone saying he first played in college. Vinny Lecavalier said he hadn't played since his rookie season with Tampa Bay in 1998-99.

His rust showed, as he missed enough shots to lose his helmet, arm pads and jersey before finally scoring.

"Yeah, you start getting nervous after you lose a few pieces of clothing," Lecavalier said to the newspaper.

There were jabs, too. When gap-toothed Todd Fedoruk missed a shot, the paper reported someone yelled at him, "Take out the rest of your teeth."

Mission accomplished on the bonding attempt.

"It was fun to do," Lecavalier said to the newspaper. "The guys had a good time. Guys were laughing together."