Lightning defender Sergachev still upset the Leafs got to the second round

Sep 15 2023, 2:31 pm

Although he won the Stanley Cup twice by the age of 23, it seems that Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Mikhail Sergachev has not fully gotten over his team’s early exit in the 2023 postseason.

Part of it is because it was to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“In my head, we should’ve won the Cup. Every year we should win the Cup,” Sergachev said on the 32 Thoughts podcast at the Player Media Tour in Nevada earlier this week. “Yeah, obviously we’re pissed off. We don’t want to lose.”

The former Montreal Canadiens player also said that he and his teammates didn’t want to be the ones that allowed Toronto into the second round for the first time in nearly two decades.

“We don’t want to be the team that finally got Toronto to the second round, and they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning,” he added. “They didn’t go through the second round. But we didn’t want to be that and lose to them.”

Nonetheless, an overtime goal from Leafs captain John Tavares in Game 6 of the hard-fought series famously sealed the deal.

The 25-year-old revealed that the Lightning, who made the Stanley Cup Final in three consecutive seasons from 2020 to 2022, are not taking their usual light approach to training camp this time around.

“We’ll see when camp starts how pissed off we are. The guys are very competitive even now,” Sergachev explained. “Usually before camp, we skate. We’ll do five drills and play a game. Usually, it’s like beer-league hockey. Now, it’s intense. Some hitting, too. It’s great. Competitive. No one is going to let me walk them on the blue line. It’s not acceptable anymore.”

Sergachev, who netted 64 points last season, also foresees a significant change in Tampa’s playing style going forward.

“We’ve got new changes coming this year. I’m not going to say where,” the Nizhnekamsk, Russia, native said. “You guys will figure it out easy when we play.”

Al SciolaAl Sciola

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