Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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More intrigue in the tale of the splintered goalie stick
Posted Mar 25, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Mar 25, 2008 at 01:31 PM
As I continue to pull wood splinters out of my clothes from Monday’s practice, the tale of Mike Smith and his shattered goaltender stick has taken a new turn. Even though team officials said he was fine, and Smith said he was fine when I talked to him on my way out of the locker room on Monday, Smith is not fine. In fact, he won’t even suit up tonight against Florida. Smith was scheduled to start tonight’s game, but instead will be a scratch with a left knee injury.
Karri Ramo will get the start in net, Jonathan Boutin has been recalled on an emergency basis (he’ll wear No. 40) and Marc Denis has been put on re-entry waivers and should be in Tampa tomorrow, assuming he clears before noon on Wednesday.
If you recall (and if you don’t scroll down to my previous posting), Smith was injured during practice on Monday during a shootout drill when Marty St. Louis accidentally fell on top of Smith. As he came limping into the locker room, Smith slammed his stick to the floor and shattering the stick. A stride later, he fell on his side on the floor as he was looked at by team trainer Tom Mulligan.
Well, apparently the knee did not react well over night. And we won’t know the extent of the injury until tonight when Smith is looked at by team doctors. But judging from the fact Denis is being recalled, it can’t be a good sign for Smith (don’t take that as this is something overly serious, and it’s just speculation on my part)... If the injury was just a minor deal, however, then Boutin comes up on an emergency basis until Smith is ready to go if it was only going to be a couple of days.
Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Hopefully I’ll have an update later tonight…..
Some other notes from this morning…. Jeff Halpern is playing tonight after missing Saturday’s game against Florida with an abdominal strain; Karl Stewart is out while Doug Janik will be back taking some shifts at forward.
And speaking of Stewart, why is he up here? It’s pretty obvious what the coaching staff thinks of him if Janik is playing forward ahead of Stewart. Shouldn’t one of the kids in Norfolk come up to gain some experience of being around an NHL locker room and give some incentive to someone for training camp next year? Blair Jones? Justin Keller? Marek Kvapil? This situation really boggles my mind….
John Tortorella discussed Karri Ramo a bit this morning…. talked about his concern about Ramo’s progression after being thrown into a difficult situation this season as a 21-year old who hasn’t played a lot of hockey this year. He also expressed some concern about the third period he played in Buffalo and how that’s going to affect him (and it’s one of the things Tortorella is looking to tonight, to see how Ram responds). Also said that he believes Ramo needs to start next season in the AHL and play games, carry a team for 65 games. Remember, Ramo missed a good part of the early part of the season with a high ankle sprain.
He talked about the improved play of Alex Picard in a short period of time and stated that while he’s moved past some guys on the depth chart right now, that judgment will be reserved when he’s played more than a half-dozen games. ... Discussed the foundation Mike Lundin has and how he’s handled the grind of his first NHL season, but said he needs to get stronger and should start next season in the minor leagues. ... Also said he’s liked some of the things Matt Smaby has done, but wants to see more physical play out of him because that’s the book on Smaby. Feels Smaby has tested the waters a little too much and wants to try to light a fire under him to get Smaby going.
That’s all for the afternoon. Remember to check back for intermission thoughts during the game, and hopefull I’ll have some injury updates at some point, including the MRI results for Paul Ranger