Ryan Callahan returns to practice in regular jersey

(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Tampa Bay Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan is making strides towards his return to the ice as he returns to practice in a regular jersey.

There is no denying it; the Tampa Bay Lightning can’t seem to win for losing lately when it comes to injuries. As soon as a player makes their return to the ice after a long-term injury, the Lightning starts to lose players one by one every couple of games.

This becomes even more disturbing to fans when you take into consideration the scarce amount of games left in the regular season. While injuries are not the defining factor when it comes to a team’s success or failure in the postseason, it definitely doesn’t help to have some of a team’s best players sitting the bench.

There is a light at the end of this incredibly dark tunnel. While it may not be a blinding light of hope, it is definitely a sign things are moving in the right direction for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

According to Tampa Bay Lightning Beat Writer Bryan Burns, Lightning alternate captain Ryan Callahan has returned to practice in a regular jersey. While this not a clear cut sign his return is imminent, it is definitely a step in the right direction as the Lightning prepares to take on one of their biggest challenges of the season.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

Callahan has been missing from the ice ever since an altercation with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Josh Leivo during the first period on March 20 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa. This was the same night Lightning forward Ondrej Palat made his return to the lineup after missing 26 games with a Lower-Body Injury.

While Callahan is not exactly what one would refer to as a scoring leader for the team, Callahan brings something much more valuable to the table. Ryan Callahan brings serious veteran experience to the team.

He served as captain of the New York Rangers from 2011 until 2014 when he was traded to the Lightning in exchange for then-Lightning captain Martin St. Louis. This season marks 12 seasons in the NHL for the Lightning alternate captain.

Given the average age of the Lightning at the moment, this is a lot of experience to bring to the table. You can have all the natural talent in the world, but nothing can adequately prepare you for the things you learn on the ice over a period of time; especially playing at the highest levels of the game.

Next: Steven Stamkos Day-to-Day With A Lower-Body Injury

The Lightning has already claimed their spot in the postseason, but there is still plenty of work to be done in between now and then. Hopefully, Ryan Callahan will be able to make his way back into the lineup in enough time to get some games under his belt before the playoffs officially kick off on April 11.