Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ondrej Palat is out 6-8 weeks after sustaining a Lower-Body Injury thanks to a completely unnecessary play from Minnesota Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has been dealing with more than their fair share of struggles as of late. In addition to the glaring issues with team chemistry which have been plaguing the team, injuries have started to pile up and have been taking a serious toll on the team as a whole.
Today, the Bolts Nation got some more bad news on the injury front. The Tampa Bay Lightning announced on Twitter this afternoon after further evaluation by the medical staff, Lightning forward Ondrej Palat will be forced to miss 6-8 weeks with a Lower Body Injury sustained on Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild.
As much as some would like to discount it, injuries are simply a part of the game. Any time a professional athlete steps out onto their respective field of battle, there is always a lingering chance they could sustain some form of injury. What is most distressing about this particular situation is its sheer unnecessariness.
The Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild were almost halfway through the 3rd period of play and the Wild had a commanding 4-1 lead over the Bolts. The play was in the Wild defensive zone and the Lightning was looking to make a move which could’ve finally turned the tide of the game.
Then…it happened. The play was clearly making its way out of the zone, which was far away from Palat’s location on the ice. Wild defenseman Ryan Suter tumbled to the ground and quickly spun around, slashing Palat from behind. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the worst part of the whole situation.
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What truthfully caused the injury was something much more irresponsible. Before making his way back to the other side of the ice to join the play, Wild defenseman Jared Spurgeon swings his stick and catches Palat in the back of the leg, sending Palat crumbling to the ice in what looked like an incredibly awkward fall.
Just watching Palat fall to the ice was enough to make even the most non-medically-trained person cringe and feel a phantom pain from their ankle up their lower leg. Unfortunately, this would be the end of the line for Palat. It was clear there was something wrong…the question was what and how long.
This means Ondrej Palat will not be able to make a return to the ice until March 3, when the Lightning takes on the Philadelphia Flyers at home in the Amalie Arena. Keep in mind, this is under ideal circumstances. This is if there are absolutely zero setbacks in his recovery.
There is a very real chance Ondrej Palat could be out until halfway through the month of March when the Lightning will more than likely be enthralled in the battle for a clear-cut position in the postseason. This is definitely a kick in the gut for the Lightning and their fans.
It is never a good day when a player goes down and it’s an especially bad day when it’s one of the team’s top tier guys. Ondrej Palat has the kind of talent and hockey presence that is near irreplaceable on the ice. Thankfully, the Lightning has a lot of talented, young players who are more than capable of answering the call in a situation like this one.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will face their first challenge without Ondrej Palat tonight as they make their way to the United Center to do battle with an all-too-familiar opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks. The Lightning has a lot of work to do if they want to get back on the right track, and it simply must start tonight in Chicago.
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It will be interesting to see how the team responds in light of the most recent injuries to both the offensive and defensive sides of the ice. Here’s hoping the team is able to keep their minds on the task at hand and get back to playing their game the way they know how. Keep it simple and do what you know…how to win games.