Injuries Shuffle Lineup For Tonight's Game Against Thrashers
After enjoying two days with their families for the Christmas holiday, the Bolts jump back on the ice tonight to take on the Atlanta Thrashers at the St. Pete Times Forum. And for the first time this season the Bolts have been hit by the injury bug.
Forwards Jeff Halpern and Todd Fedoruk were both placed on injured reserve with lower body injuries retroactive to Wednesday's game against Philadelphia. Look for them to be out two weeks. Defenseman Matt Walker was placed on injured reserve retroactive to the December 18 game against St. Louis. He is listed as day-to-day and eligible to come off the IR at any time, though he did not skate this morning.
In a corresponding move, the Lightning called up defenseman Mike Lundin today. Lundin will play on the blue line tonight with David Hale moving to forward. Head Coach Rick Tocchet had a choice in who to move up front between Hale and Kurtis Foster as both have played forward at various times this season. He decided to leave Foster on defense due to the fact that he has been one of the better defensemen for the team recently and has been contributing consistently offensively.
Offensive production from the blue line is another reason why the Bolts elected to bring up Lundin. Tocchet said he can provide some puck movement and aid in the Bolts' transition game. In fact, his 14 assists lead all Norfolk blueliners. The coach is looking for more offensive production from the back end and he is hoping having Lundin on the ice will help.
In other news Antero Niittymaki will not be with the team tonight as he has been given the game off for family reasons. Riku Helenius was called up from AHL Norfolk to back up Mike Smith, who is making his third consecutive start tonight.
The team is scheduled to practice at the St. Pete Times Forum tomorrow before taking on the Boston Bruins on Monday in the third game of a five-game homestand.