Bishop's Absence An Opportunity For Lindback
It was announced Thursday morning that Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop had been diagnosed with a sprained right wrist and was placed on injured reserve retroactive to the January 5 game against the Edmonton Oilers.
Needing to stay on IR for a minimum of a week, Bishop is eligible to return to action this Monday, but there are no guarantees that he will be ready to go.
"With a sprained ankle, sprained wrist, sprained anything, you may come off IR, but he may still not be ready to go," head coach Jon Cooper said. "He needs a little treatment, but I'm not too worried yet."
The standout netminder confirmed that he took a shot off his wrist during warm-ups in Edmonton and it was irritated further during the game.
"I've watched the play and it didn't feel like it was anything much, but obviously it was enough," Bishop said. "It's just a shooting pain and it hasn't felt good the last few days. We got a chance to look at it yesterday and today."
Now playing the waiting game, Bishop said he will tape his wrist and see how it responds.
"I'll have a couple days to practice before I can play again," he said. "We'll then have a good gauge for Monday."
LINDBACK TO PLAY IN THIRD STRAIGHT
With Bishop ruled out Anders Lindback will assume duties between the pipes for Tampa Bay with Cedrick Desjardins backing up.
Lindback said he didn't feel any extra pressure to perform, despite Bishop's sterling season thus far.
"I've gotten some continuous playing time and I haven't played that much," Lindback said. "You want to play and win more games, so I just look at it as an opportunity."
Earlier in the week Cooper said Lindback may be overcompensating for the fact that he has not had much time in net and that it was in fact hurting his game.
"When you're trying too hard, you're pulling yourself out of your structure and everything goes haywire," Cooper said. "He just needs to think 'this is what's worked for me in the past, this is what got me into the NHL' and I think his head is in a pretty good spot right now."
Since, Lindback felt he had calmed down and that the pressure has dissipated knowing he does not have just one chance to impress the coaching staff.
"When you don't have just a single game that's on the line and you have a couple in a row there's no rush," he said. "I feel like you get into a little bit of a rhythm too when you get more playing time."
WAITING ON A DOCTOR'S NOTE
Injured blueliner Keith Aulie skated for the first time with his teammates since breaking his hand 15 games ago on December 5 versus the Ottawa Senators.
While Aulie has been skating on his own for 10 games, he said nothing is quite like reuniting with the rest of the Bolts.
"The good thing about a hand injury is that I can keep my legs in shape in the gym and legs are the most important part," he said. "But nothing compares to getting on the ice and skating with the guys again."
Aulie said the injury has a six week recovery timetable, but that he was getting x-rays today. As for on the ice, he said he felt "great," but just needed to get his timing back.
OTHER ODDS 'N ENDS
J.T. Brown is doubtful to return Thursday, but Cooper said if he does not play tonight, he will play against the Flyers Saturday in Philadelphia.
Cooper confirmed that the Bolts will skate with 11 forwards and seven defensemen tonight. He also said there would be one other possible change, but did not comment further.
Juggling a trio of goaltenders the Capitals will go with 22-year-old netminder Phillip Grubauer versus Tampa Bay.