February 3, 2012
RETURN TO THE RINK
The Tampa Bay Lightning returned to the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Friday for an optional morning skate just one day after falling to the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 in overtime.
Adam Hall was back on the ice skating, although wearing the red no-contact jersey.
Marc-Andre Bergeron also skated, while Ryan Malone, still nursing an upper body injury, did not skate with his teammates during Friday’s on-ice session.
The team received good news regarding forward Adam Hall’s status, learning that the injury to a torn muscle in his forearm might not be as severe as initially thought. The original time table set for Hall’s return was eight weeks, but there is optimism he could return during the team’s current home stand.
“I’m feeling great and it’s exciting to be back on the ice with the guys,” Hall said. “At this point, my job is just to keep working hard to get healthy in order to get back into the lineup as soon as possible.”
HANG THOSE HEADS HIGH
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said Mathieu Garon will get the start in net against Florida.
Although Adam Hall is expected to be back sooner than initially thought, not he nor Ryan Malone or Marc-Andre Bergeron will play in Saturday’s game against the Panthers.
And with Pierre-Cedric Labrie back in Norfolk of the AHL, that leaves the Lightning with 11 forwards for Saturday’s game including Brett Connolly, who is expected to be inserted back in the lineup after serving as a healthy scratch in the team’s last game on Thursday against Winnipeg.
One day after the Lightning had their season-high five-game win streak snapped, Guy Boucher addressed the question of whether he was still disappointed about collecting just one point in Thursday’s 2-1 overtime loss to the Jets rather than the two the team badly needs.
“No, it’s not disappointing. I found it encouraging that we played so well. We have two more opportunities at home and we don’t want to change our focus. I tell our guys that everything is in front of us. There’s nothing left behind. Everything is front of us, and the more you think about yesterday, the less prepared you are for today.”
It’s been nearly one month since the Lightning acquired defenseman Brendan Mikkelson in exchange for Blair Jones.
Lightning head coach Guy Boucher expressed his praise for the recently-acquired Bolts blueliner at Friday’s practice, providing an early assessment of his value to the team.
“I love the poise he brings to the blue line, he has a tremendous shot and he knows how to get himself out of tough situations. He has been a really good addition for us and our team. I told Steve [Yzerman] that yesterday.”
BUY OR SELL
According to General Manager Steve Yzerman, the Lightning’s next two home games, including Saturday against Florida and Tuesday’s matchup versus cross-conference opponent Los Angeles, will determine a lot regarding if the team will have more of a buyer’s or a seller’s mindset at the trade deadline.
With the current state of teams in the standings, many clubs are going through a period of feeling out the market, while at the same time, waiting to see which will make playoff runs and which won't.
So, depending on what transpires during the remainder of the Bolts’ current home stand, Yzerman said he will have to be prepared one way or the other to act appropriately.
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