The Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. to go face-to-face with Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. Unfortunately, thanks to a rapidly increasing number of injuries on the Lightning bench, there are quite a few people who will not be traveling with the team. Let’s take a look at all the injuries currently plaguing the Tampa Bay Lightning.
As we reported last week, Lightning defenseman Brian Lee has suffered a serious setback in his recovery. Just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday it was decided that the 6’3” 200 pound defenseman required a second surgery to repair his knee.
The team does expect him to make a return at some point this season, but right now there is no timetable for that return.
Speaking of defensemen, Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie suffered a broken hand during the second period of the game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Ottawa Senators at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday, December 5th. Aulie’s hand was serious enough to require surgery, which was completed on Friday, December 6th. Right now, he is considered to be out indefinitely with no timeline for his return.
Another Lightning defenseman warming the bench right now is the 6’6” 233 pound Victor Hedman. Hedman is expected to miss at least a week after sustaining a lower body injury in Thursday’s game against the Senators; the same game that brought down Aulie.
He is not currently expected to miss any long-term time. He’ll be evaluated later this week and a date for his return will be determined at the point.
The Lightning is also dealing with the loss of Lightning left wing Ryan Malone. Tampa Bay Lightning Vice President and General Manager Steve Yzerman announced on December 3rd that Malone suffered a non-displaced ankle fracture after taking a puck to the leg in the name of blocking a shot on November 22nd against the Anaheim Ducks. Malone is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.
Yet another person missing from the lineup is Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie. Labrie has not played a game since November 25th against the New York Rangers thanks to an Upper Body Injury. Labrie has not yet been cleared to play, but there is still a possibility that he may be ready to go by tonight against the Capitals.
Center Tom Pyatt has only suited up with the Lightning for one game this season before going down with a broken collar bone. Initially, he was expected to return somewhere around the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately, his recovery is not quite going as planned. While the eight week mark was the low end of his recovery timetable, which is the number everyone was banking on, it was not meant to be.
Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times that this is not an uncommon period of time to miss for this type of injury.
I don’t think it’s uncommon for this type of injury to be eight to 12 weeks, potentially,” Yzerman said. “We were all hoping at the eight week mark he’d be good to go but he needs a little more time. Obviously, we’re hoping it’s not 12 weeks. So, it’s taking a little longer but not a reason from our perspective for concern.”
Obviously, this leaves us with Steven Stamkos. Stamkos has been making remarkable progress in his recovery. At this particular juncture, they are eyeing a February 6th return for the Lightning sniper. Stamkos does not plan on pushing himself, which is a good thing. The absolute last thing that he needs to do right not is come back too soon and reinjure himself. However, I can’t lie to you, having Stamkos back before the Olympic break would be one of the best gifts that could be given to the Bolts Nation this season.
While some see us as struggling lately, I would say that if you take into consideration the significant amount of injuries that the team has sustained both on offense and defense, I would say that we have been playing a pretty good game.
Are we perfect, of course not; however, we do have the potential to move forward and continue winning in spite of the adversity.
What do you think the Lightning are going to need to do in order to come out on top tonight in Washington? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.