After enjoying the beautiful morning in Tampa Bay, with temperatures reaching over 25 degrees, the team joined at the Tampa Bay Forum for an afternoon skate. Every player was accounted for, with the exception of Zach Bogosian
, who, as Coach Noel confirmed was sitting out today for regular maintenance.Dustin Byfuglien
and Alexander Burmistrov
were both skating with the team for the third consecutive day and again were not wearing non-contact jerseys. They both told media that they feel great and are good to go if they get the nod in tomorrow's matchup against the Lightning.
"It'll be a tomorrow decision but he looked good today," Coach Claude Noel said of Byfuglien. "I think he's on IR so we have to do some things. I haven't spoken with Chevy or the management yet but he looks pretty good. I haven't spoken to him about it yet but he's been coming along and we're hoping he's a player."
Byfuglien has missed 16 games to injury so, as expected, he is more than eager to get back on the ice to help his team on this road trip, as is the rest of the team. With that said, returning from any lengthy injury can be risky as fatigue and re-injuring are both possibilities.
"You have to be intelligent with how things go," Noel continued. "Buff hasn't practiced much or played with us for the last four or five weeks. There are a lot of things he can help us to do but, how much can he play? He hasn't practiced that much so is he a 24 minute player? I'd be hard-pressed to say he's going to play that."
Byfuglien said he has no concern about his injury or playing in three games in four nights, if he gets the green light. The waiting game is close to over.
"I'm sick of sitting out and watching," said Byfuglien. "it's not the most fun thing to be doing but you've got to take care of yourself so you're ready to go. We've been playing some pretty good hockey right now, it's just the little things we need to focus on and we'll be alright."
Burmistrov has missed the last two games after being hit into the boards in Carolina on January 23rd He continued to play after the hit as he played 18:29 that game. He addressed the trainers and coaching staff with possible concussion symptoms so the team did not take any chances. Burmistrov said that he has taken the concussion test and has passed, meaning he should be getting the go-ahead for Thursday.
Author: Kristi Hennessy