Some refreshing news coming out of head coach Guy Boucher’s press conference following Tuesday’s morning skate was this:
Injured forward Ryan Malone is expected to return “soon.”
Malone skated Tuesday morning with his teammates, although he was wearing the orange jersey.
“It’s a step and we hope to see him soon, but it won’t be tonight,” Boucher said. “He’s not three weeks away, but it also won’t be today or the next day.”
The Bolts winger re-aggravated a previous injury to his lower body while playing soccer during the team’s pre-game activation session on February 10 just about an hour prior to the puck drop against the New York Rangers.
To date, he has missed eight games for the Lightning and will not be available neither tonight against Buffalo nor on Thursday against the Rangers as mentioned above, but was even unsure regarding his exact travel plans with the team as it departs on a four-game road trip that kicks off two days from now in New York City.
Malone also has been skating on his own recently, but added that he will be evaluated further this week to assess whether or not he is ready for full contact.
“It was exciting to get back on the ice this morning with the guys,” Malone said. “But it’s a process and we’ll continue to evaluate it and take it from there.”
Malone this season has registered four goals and five points to go along with eight penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating while logging 17:45 in average ice time per game.
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