TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay center Dominic Moore is hobbled by a groin injury, so he sat out the Lightning's game against the Penguins Wednesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.
That was a significant setback for his team because Moore has been pretty effective in the early weeks of the season.
He was the Lightning's No. 5 scorer before the game against the Penguins with four goals and one assist in eight games and has been responsible defensively and excellent on faceoffs (56.2 percent success rate).
Moore downplayed his early goal-scoring burst, saying that "I'm just playing my game," and said he hasn't been cast in a more offensive role than he previously was in his career.
"The way I play, the versatility and being well-rounded, that's what I've always brought," he said. "I embrace whatever I can do to contribute."
And wherever he gets a chance to do it.
For while Moore is just 30 years old, Tampa Bay is his ninth organization. He also has played for the New York Rangers, Penguins, Minnesota, Toronto, Buffalo, Florida and Montreal, and appeared briefly on Nashville's depth chart when it acquired him from New York before dealing him to the Penguins.
Moore said he never envisioned switching employers so often, but tries to take the positives out of all those changes.
"I don't think anyone thinks that, ever," he said. "You can't control some things. All you can do is the best you can with the hand you're dealt. That's the road I've been given. It's made me stronger, I think, facing those kinds of obstacles."
Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis lost a shootout competition during practice earlier this month and, as a consequence, was obliged to grow a moustache for the balance of the month.
With October winding down, Dupuis is about to have the option to shave it, and he has left little doubt that that's what he will be doing.
"The wife's due pretty soon," he said, "and I don't want newborn pictures of me with a moustache."
Although defenseman Victor Hedman isn't Tampa Bay's best-known player, he is one of its most important.
Not so much because he had six points in his first eight games, tying him for third in the team scoring race, but because he entered the game Wednesday night averaging 23 1/2 minutes of ice time per game, most on the Lightning.
"He's been a force out there, and we're giving him a bit more ice time than we might want to," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. "The reality is, because he deserves it. He can log a lot of ice time because he's in shape."
Boucher praised Hedman for making a major improvement in his puck movement since the start of training camp and pointed out that Hedman's intensity is a quality about which most outsiders are not aware.
"I thought he was more of a quiet, calm, passive kind of individual, but he's not at all," Boucher said. "He's an emotional guy who brings some extra grit."
Boucher was hockey's hottest coaching prospect before being hired by the Lightning, and his early results and reviews have validated the high regard in which he was held.
"He's been great so far," Lightning left winger Ryan Malone said. "He makes everything black and white. There aren't really any gray areas. You know what your job is. If you're not doing it, obviously, you're not going to play."
Boucher is earning lots of fans around the hockey world because of the aggressive style he coaches, and he undoubtedly made some in the team offices a week ago. With no advance notice, Boucher had his players visit workers there and spend some time with them in an effort to cultivate a sense of family throughout the organization.
Dave Molinari: firstname.lastname@example.org .