Bolts Report Back To Tampa Bay; Update On Team’s Health
The past 10 days off was much needed for a number of Tampa Bay Lightning players.
Ben Bishop, who was fighting through a wrist ailment, played the final game before Olympic break, but had been in and out of the lineup several times leading up to the pause in action.
"I feel good now," Bishop said. "It provided me a little time to rest and it was nice to go home and go on a trip. Now it's good to be back."
Bishop said he would be ready to play in the Bolts first game back on Thursday, February 27 at the Nashville Predators.
Yet for a number of other injured players their timetable for return is not as clear.
"I hope everyone is ready to play, I wouldn't say I expect all of them to play," head coach Jon Cooper said. "The big sign will be who you see on the ice on Monday. That will give us a better idea of who will play."
Included on that list is Steven Stamkos, who was not cleared in time for the Olympics and is set to be reevaluated after their mini training camp in Orlando over the weekend.
"That will be the deciding factor if I can play in the first game or not," Stamkos said. "Doctors said they would reevaluate in a couple weeks and I think it was two weeks today."
Stamkos said for the first five days of Olympic break he stayed in Tampa with the Lightning training staff and continued to skate. He then went on a little vacation of his own.
"For me personally I think it was nice for the body to get away for a couple days," Stamkos said. "It wasn't only good for the body, but mentally too."
Anders Lindback also practiced for the first time since succumbing to a lower body injury during a matchup versus the Ottawa Senators on January 30. Valtteri Filppula did not skate with the team too, as it has been less than two weeks on a non-displaced fracture in his right ankle, which was given around three weeks to heal.
Matt Carle and Tyler Johnson also took Wednesday off for body maintenance days.
SINGLE ELIMINATION GAMES UNDERWAY
Tuesday Czech Republic teammates Ondrej Palat and Radko Gudas helped defeat Richard Panik and Team Slovakia to move on to the men's ice hockey quarterfinal in the Winter Games.
However they were not as lucky Wednesday in a 5-2 loss to Team USA. Gudas finished the tournament averaging 17:00 of time on ice (TOI) in three games, while Palat appeared in four games in an average of 8:42 TOI.
Wednesday morning Team Finland, which features the Lightning's Sami Salo for the fourth straight Games, upset the host country Russia in the quarterfinal round, 3-1. Salo is currently plus-3 with one assist in four games.
Martin St. Louis drew back into Canada's lineup Wednesday, replacing Matt Duchene for his third game of the tournament as they barely squeezed out a victory against Latvia. Bolts 2013 draft pick and prospect Kristers Gudlevskis stopped 55 of 57 shots he faced in a 2-1 loss to Canada, which eliminated them from medal contention.
"He was in the zone out there," Ben Bishop said. "I wish he could have stolen a win."
"To see Kristers play today was a lot of fun," Cooper said. "I'm sure he left a lump in a lot of Canadian's throats."
Cooper said he has sporadically watched all his players who are a part of the Olympics.
OTHER ODDS 'N ENDS
- Cooper will be honored and drop the first puck for Friday's Green Bay Gamblers game against the Youngstown Phantoms at the Resch Center. Cooper was the Gamblers' head coach and general manager from 2008-2010, with an 84-27-9 record and won two Anderson Cups for the best record during the regular season in the United States Hockey League.
- Cooper spent time in the Bahamas with his family over the break, but was in the company of many personnel from across the league, as they too choose the Bahamas as their vacation destination.
- The Lightning head to Orlando Thursday through Saturday for a mini training camp at RDV Sportsplex. All practices will be at 10:30 a.m.