Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos and defenseman Victor Hedman were among the players who missed Tuesday’s team practice.
The Tampa Bay Lightning has been struggling as of late. Unfortunately, this does not apply to just one aspect of the game. However, the aspect being referenced at this particular moment is player injuries. The Lightning simply can’t seem to win for losing when it comes to this area as of late.
In the same night the Lightning got back forward Ondrej Palat after missing 26 games with a Lower-Body Injury, Bolts alternate captain Ryan Callahan goes down with an Upper-Body Injury and has been on the sidelines ever since. Regrettably, this is not where this story ends.
Slowly, but surely, the injury bug has been striking Lightning players one by one. The Lightning is also missing captain Steven Stamkos from the lineup at the moment. Stammer missed his first game of the season on Monday night as the Lightning was defeated by the next-to-last team in the NHL, the Arizona Coyotes.
It was during this game the Lightning would lose one, possibly two, players to injuries. In the first period, it would be Lightning forward Adam Erne who would head straight down the tunnel to the Lightning locker room after a hard collision along the boards. Erne would not return against the Coyotes.
In the final moments of the game, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman had his clock cleaned behind the Lightning net. Maybe it’s just us, but Hedman took far longer than anyone would’ve hoped to make his way back to his skates. While there has been no official word from the team regarding any sort of injury, things are still in a state of flux for the Swedish defenseman.
Tampa Bay Lightning
As any Lightning fan will tell you, the Bolts are in serious need of a structured practice session before the Lightning takes on the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. The good news is this is exactly what the Lightning got today. The bad news is there were a few familiar faces missing from said practice.
According to Tampa Bay Lightning Beat Writer Bryan Burns, captain Steven Stamkos, and defenseman Victor Hedman were two players missing from today’s practice. As one can easily imagine, this is definitely not good news for the Lightning as they head into one of their biggest challenges of the season.
At the same time, this dark cloud may have a silver lining after all. According to Burns, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper said Stamkos and Hedman were simply taking “body maintenance” days. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean either player will be on the ice on Thursday night. Stamkos was left off the lineup on Monday night against the Coyotes for the very same reason.
Now, before anyone goes into a panic, please note there has been no official word from the team regarding any sort of injury to Victor Hedman. At this point, his absence from practice is due to nothing more than shaking off the late-third period hit on Monday night. As far as Stamkos goes, it remains to be seen whether or not he’ll rejoin the lineup on Thursday night against the Bruins.
The Lightning faces one of their toughest challenges of the season. At one point, the Lightning had a 15-point lead on the Boston Bruins in the Atlantic Division. Now, this lead has been diminished to a mere two points. The Bruins, who have already bested the Lightning twice this season, could easily earn these two points with a victory over the Bolts at the TD Garden on Thursday.
The simple fact of the matter is regardless of who is missing from the Lightning lineup on Thursday night, the Bolts will need to bring their ‘A’ game with them to Beantown and play a consistent 60 minutes of hockey. Everyone knows the Lightning is capable of achieving this. If they weren’t, the Lightning wouldn’t have made it as far as they have this season.
If the Lightning can reignite the fire which burned brightly at the start of the season and focus on the task at hand, there should be no reason the Bolts cannot defy the odds and bring home the much-needed two points in Boston. There is a lot of work left to do, but the Bolts have proven they have the ability to get the job done. Here’s hoping today’s practice is the first step in achieving this lofty goal.