Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop took the ice yesterday morning. Unlike the practice before, he took in this practice in full pads. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t get your hopes up about seeing the Lightning netminder between the pipes against the Montreal Canadiens.
According to Lightning Beat Reporter Missy Zielinski, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper didn’t seem very optimistic about a return for Bishop this series.
Cooper said “I don’t think we’ll be seeing Bishop anytime soon,” but if playoff series goes the distance he’s not completely ruled out.
— Missy Zielinski (@Missy_Zielinski) April 17, 2014
The 6’7” Denver native has been sidelined with an Upper Body Injury since leaving the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on April 8th in the opening minutes after landing awkwardly on his wrist while making a rather acrobatic save.
While many of us would like to see Bishop back out on the ice as soon as possible, the absolute last thing we need is for Bishop to return sooner than he should and risk a more severe or long term injury.
On the bright side, Lightning netminder Anders Lindback has been playing spectacularly since taking the reins from Bishop. He posted not one, but two shutouts in a four game period to close out the regular season. Also, while the Bolts may not have brought home the win on Wednesday, he was able to stop 39 of 44 shots on almost 4 periods of play, giving him a Save Percentage of .866.
Backing up Lindback is the 6’4” Latvian native Kristers Gudlevskis. In his NHL debut on April 11th, he was able to stop 36 of 38 Shots on Goal from the Columbus Blue Jackets, backstopping the Bolts to a 3-2 win.
Bishop is indeed making progress; however, he will not be making his return to the ice until he is 100% ready to hit the ice in full Bishop style. In the meantime, the Lightning is in good hands with Lindback and Gudlevskis.