Erik Erlendsson covers the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Tampa Tribune.
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Morning update from New Jersey, surprise on the ice
Posted Nov 5, 2008 by Erik Erlendsson
Updated Nov 5, 2008 at 01:01 PM
NEWARK, N.J. - As the Lightning made their way onto the ice for the morning skate, there were a couple of ommisions and one noticeable addition.
First, center Vinny Lecavalier is not on the ice. Not sure what that means yet, but with back-to-back games and a heavy schedule this month, he may just have the morning off. I’ll find out after the locker room opens. UPDATE - scratch what I just wrote, Vinny was on the ice and I somehow missed it. Sorry to get everyone up in arms over any potential speculation.
Defenseman Janne Niskala is also absent this morning, which is a bit odd for somebody who has been a healthy scratch of late. There’s been some talk around the locker room that he had a meeting with GM Brian Lawton sometime in the past couple of days about his role on the team. When I asked Barry Melrose about it on Tuesday, he said that Niskala just has to be ready when he is called on because injuries are bound to happen. Niskala does have a European-out clause in his contract and I’m sure that came up in discussions with Lawton.
And finally, center Jeff Halpern is participating in the on-ice workouts this morning with the team. Halpern has been skating for some time as he recovers from major knee surgery, but this is his forst time skating with the team. This is unexpected to have Halpern look like he’s even as close as he is to returning. In my last conversation with Halpern, he said the timetable remained the same, with December the anticipated time in which he could be back on the ice.
I’ll have more later this afternoon on these three scenarios after I have a chance to speak to the particulars.