Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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More walking wounded for the Lightning
Posted Apr 8, 2009 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Apr 8, 2009 at 05:31 PM
TAMPA - The number of healthy bodies hanging around the Lightning locker room these days continues to dwindle. And it was kind of comical in a way after last night’s game to look down outside the trainer’s room and see in street clothes - Vinny Lecavalier, Mike Smith, Ryan Malone, Paul Ranger - just hanging out and talking. That’s a lot of talent out of the lineup.
Well, add Matt Lashoff to the list of those who may not be able to play. Lashoff only played 17 minutes Tuesday against Pittsburgh and in the second period, he played just over three minutes, most of that coming on the power play. Lashoff did not practice on Wednesday and he looked to be limping around today. When I asked him how he was doing, he just said he was banged up. Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet sounded as if he doesn’t expect Lashoff to be able to play against the Capitals.
In addition, Matt Pettinger did not practice, although Tocchet indicated Pettinger would be in the lineup.
Josef Melichar, out the past two games with a leg injury, did practice but it sounds as if he is not able to make it. Overheard a conversation where Melichar might be able to give it a try, but there was the chance by his second shift he could be done so I don’t think we’ll see him on the ice.
Now, if you are counting, that leaves Tampa Bay short enough healthy bodies to field a full 20-man lineup on Thursday.
Norfolk, by the way, sent out a release earlier today that they have signed five players to tryout contracts for the remainder of the season, but as of now, a Norfolk official said the tryout agreements are unrelated to the Lightning’s situation. Norfolk itself has been besieged by injuries, as well, when Wade Brookbank and AHL-contracted defenseman Brent Henley suffered injuries on Sunday.
But I would think, and Tocchet indicated, that there will be at least one but possibly two call ups in order to field a squad of 20 players. While David Koci practiced at forward on Wednesday, I would have to imagine he moves back to defense against the Caps. That would mean the Lightning might be bringing up one defenseman and one forward to fill in the void. Perhaps Ty Wishart gets another look on defense (since Mike Lundin would have to clear waivers and Kevin Quick is expected to join Elmira of the ECHL for the playoffs) while at forwards, I guess the likely candidates are Blair Jones, Radek Smolenak, Justin Keller .
No word from either organization on who might already be on a flight to Tampa, so I guess we’ll have to find out tomorrow at the morning skate who shows up on the ice.
After last night’s game, Lightning assistant general manager Claude Loiselle came walking into the Tampa Bay locker room and introduced Lauri Tukonen which led to some serious speculation that the team is negotiating with him and possible trying to sign him, but word this morning is that Tukonen came to town to get looked at for a possible injury.