Mike Kostka was claimed off waivers by the Tampa Bay Lightning about a week ago after the Chicago Blackhawks placed placed him there. It took six days for him to crack the Lightning lineup, but when he did he sure wanted to make a difference.
In his first game, against the Dallas Stars on Saturday, Kostka only played 8:42 in ice time. In that time, he led the Lightning with five blocked-shots. It was the first game he played since January 26.
Kostka had this to say after the game.
“It felt good to get back into it… I was looking back to the last time I played and didn’t realize that it had been about a month and half ago, so it was nice to get back out there and shake the rust off.’’
Kostka has been with the Lightning for only a week or so, but does have some familiarity with their system. That is because Kostka was part of the 2011-12 Calder Championship-winning Norfolk Admirals. Who was the coach of that team? Current Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper.
“I think he’s evolved a little bit just as anybody does, but at the roots of his structure is just about the same… So going in, systemwise, I was pretty familiar with everything, a couple of changes here and there and from game to game just depending on how you are playing. But in general, it definitely makes it easier having the familiarity from a few years ago.’’
Cooper had this to say about Kostka’s game on Saturday.
“I thought he was fine, for his first game (with Tampa Bay) and his 10th of the season, he gave us minutes,’’
To add to that, Kostka had two assists in the Lightning’s game yesterday against the Colorado Avalanche. Seems like a pretty good start.