Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Lightning’s first post-deadline day practice, who was missing and where is Gary Roberts?
Posted Mar 5, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Mar 5, 2009 at 04:01 PM
BRANDON - Just look out on the ice this morning at practice, you would have thought it was trade deadline day rather than the day after because of all the absent bodies.
Missing were left wing Ryan Malone, who is out with the flu, defenseman Lukas Krajicek, also feeling the effects of being sick, as well as center Paul Szczechura, who started practice but left early with a bruised wrist. None of the three have been ruled out for Friday’s game against St. Louis.
The most intersting absence was that of Gary Roberts. Not only was Roberts not on the ice, he didn’t have his equipment in Brandon nor a locker stall. Seems a bit odd, considering the circumstances surrounding Roberts, who was placed on waivers Tuesday and cleared on Wednesday. Lightning general manager Brian Lawton said on Wednesday that without being able to move Roberts, that the organization would treat him with the proper respect and not do anything like send him to the minors. But you have to wonder if we’ve seen the last of Roberts, who spoke an awful lot like he had played his last game when we caught up with him after Tuesday’s game, even stating that he took a stick and signed it for Steven Stamkos. Perhaps Roberts knew that if he didn’t get picked up on waivers, that he was done playing.
All Rick Tocchet said about Roberts today was that he was given the day off. But judging from the way information is distributed around the team these days, I take that to mean Tocchet just can’t talk about it. I’m still waiting to hear from Lawton today regarding, not only Roberts, but also the 20-game suspension for Steve Downie in the AHL.
New winger Martins Karsams was at practice, working on a line with Vinny Prospal and Vinny Lecavalier. The first thing that struck me about Karsams is how much his build looks almost identical to Mark Recchi, especially from a distance. I had to do a double-take the first time I looked out to make sure it wasn’t Recchi.
Noah Welch was also on the ice and he will be in the lineup against St. Louis. We spoke to him briefly after practice and after being out of the lineup so often in Florida this year, he’s just happy to have the chance to play in a few games.