THE LIGHTNING INSIDER
It has been a while since I reached into the mailbag, and since it is too cold out to do anything outside in Montreal today I thought I’d take some time to answer some of your questions.
First though, the Lightning held an uneventful optional skate at the Bell Centre this morning in Montreal, and the two-block walk to and from the rink was downright painful. The snow banks in Montreal are about four feet high right now, and my Men’s Wearhouse dress shoes weren’t made for this weather! Also, the dinner last night at Gibby’s in Old Montreal was fantastic as usual. If you’re ever in town, you’ve got to check it out.
Now to your questions….
Can you please tell me what happened to Michel Ouellet and why he is on the injured reserve list?
Hey Melody. Ouellet was injured on December 13 against Calgary at the St. Pete Times Forum. He separated his shoulder when he was checked into the boards. It was fairly obvious when it happened that he was hurt by the check as he skated away favoring his shoulder and went directly to the bench and didn’t return. At the time of the injury the Lightning said he was expected to be out 4-6 weeks. That puts him at about 1-3 weeks now. He is on the road with the team but has yet to start skating again.
Pete and others have asked:
Will Boyle be back for the regular season at all?
I continue to get a number of questions regarding Dan Boyle’s progress and when the team expects him to return. While the team has not put a time table on his return, Boyle has begun skating on his own and has started doing some stick-handling work. He is with the team on the current road trip as he continues to work his way back into the lineup. There is no reason he shouldn’t be back by the end of the season. Boyle saw the doctor that performed the surgery in Baltimore when the team traveled to Washington for the game on December 26 and he cleared Boyle to begin skating and reported that everything was healing fine.
What happened to the goal judges this year and who turns on the red light when a goal is scored?
The off-ice goal judge was moved to the accessible sections behind the goals in the St. Pete Times Forum. It is different in each NHL Arena. Relocating the goal judge makes it easier for fans in the area behind the nets to follow the play. Previously, fans in the end zone would have to look around a big plastic box with the official in it. With all teams using video replay now it is less important to have that goal judge so close to the action.
David Pacht asks:
I’m a big fan of Adam Henrich. I have followed him since his days in the OHL. We all know about how he didn’t get picked up at the end of his three-year contract, but he had an amazing start first in the ECHL with 20 points in 12 games and now finally with 11 points in his first six games (in Norfolk of the AHL)! Tampa Bay obviously gave him a second shot for a reason do you think if he keeps up his play he has a chance of getting called up to the big club?
Hey David, you might be the most knowledgeable person about Adam Henrich I’ve seen! Yes, Henrich has really turned things around this season. He has played in only 15 of the Admirals’ 35 games this season and is third on the team in goals with eight while also being tied for fourth in points with 15. He has excelled on the power play as half of his goals have come with the man advantage. He certainly earned his tryout agreement with Norfolk and earned the right to stay. It’s probably a little early to say that he is going to be called up, but never say never. Based on Tampa Bay’s meritocracy system, if he keeps it up there is no reason to rule it out if a forward is needed. He just needs to keep showing that he deserves it more than anyone else, and the Lightning would need to sign him to an NHL contract (his deal is currently AHL only).
Liz Boltd ponders:
I have two questions that maybe you could answer. 1. Do you know where the post-game practice of bumping helmets in celebration/acknowledgement came from? 2. How do the Lightning keep track of the time that the players are on the ice? Does each player have someone assigned to monitor their individual time with a stopwatch, or is it more mechanized like a timing device on a players skate? Thanks for the time, and I am really enjoying your column.
Hello Liz. I did some research and asked around and didn’t find anything concrete on where the helmet-bumping came from. By most players’ and staffers’ estimation it is something that started in the past 15 years. There has always been the congratulating of the goaltender after the game, but not always a specific head butt. Most thought it probably came from other sports in which players bang heads, like football.
As for the other part of your question, player ice time is monitored and tracked by the NHL’s off-ice officials in the press box. In their booth in the press box they use the NHL HITS system to provide player ice times. Multiple officials are assigned to keep tabs on player ice time.
… and finally the question of the day …
Amongst other things, Hockey Chic asks:
Love your report; when can we expect to learn your identity, eh? I am thinking tall, grey and handsome maybe. Just a guess; Capt Dave or Chief?
Thanks Hockey Chic; glad you like the updates. You’re just going to have to figure that one out on your own; I’m not going to spill the beans. I like my anonymity and don’t want the paparazzi following me around!!!