D Andrej Sustr poised to make NHL debut
Less than a week after signing with the Tampa Bay Lightning, D Andrej Sustr seems set to make his NHL debut. New Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper did not say definitively that Sustr would be in the lineup to face the New Jersey Devils, but said he is looking at dressing seven defensemen instead of the normal six. Sustr, 22, will take warm-ups and the decision will be made after that, although indications are it may have already been determined that Sustr will play. “It could be, and as I said I’m either going with six or seven (defensemen), so if we are going with seven, you probably know who that is going to be,’’ Cooper said. Sustr, who was signed as a free agent out of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, arrived in Tampa on Monday and skated with the team for the first time on Tuesday during the morning skate and was in the full practice with the rest of the team on Thursday. The 6-foot-8, 200-pound native of the Czech Republic said he is preparing as if he will play, and believes he will be ready when called upon. “Obviously everything is a little bit faster and guys are more skilled (at the NHL level) but I think I’ve done pretty well for myself and we’ll see what happens tonight,’’ Sustr said. “I’m getting ready like I’m playing and it will go down whenever Coach Cooper tells me.’’ Though it’s only been less than a week, the Lightning like what they have seen from Sustr to this point, both on the ice and in the video room. “Personally I’ve been impressed with his skating ability, his presence with wanting to have the puck on his stick and make plays,’’ said assistant coach Dan LaCroix, who runs the defense. “I was trying to give him less (video work) and he wanted more. I want to give him less not to overcrowd him . . . want him to relax and go out there and have fun playing the game. And he seems like a smart kid, he asks pertinent questions in regards to the systems so he wants to be prepared when he is asked.’’
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