March 7, 2012
Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman announced Wednesday that goaltender Mathieu Garon will miss three to four weeks with a torn groin muscle.
The Bolts net minder sustained the injury after he stretched out to stop Erik Karlsson’s slap shot just 3:54 into Tuesday’s game against the Senators. Garon, after consulting with head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan, attempted to put weight on both legs as he rose to his feet following the play, but opted to skate off the ice on his own initiative and did not return.
As a result, goaltender Dustin Tokarski is expected to be recalled from the team’s top affiliate in Norfolk of the American Hockey League and join the team in Washington on Thursday. Tokarski recently set the Admirals franchise record for longest win streak, posting eight consecutive victories, and has recorded a 75-56-7 record in 141 career AHL games with the Admirals since the 2009-10 season.
Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher reneged his statement made at the end of February in which he stated that captain Vincent Lecavalier could return “within 10 days.”
Lecavalier has missed eight games with a non-displaced fracture in his right hand and was originally thought to miss three to four weeks, putting him on pace to return by Mar. 17. But on Tuesday following the team’s morning skate in preparation for that night’s game against Ottawa, Boucher conceded and went on to say that Lecavalier “is not ready at all.”
“As much as I would love to spend time waiting for Vinny, we have to focus on the guys who are here,” Boucher said.
Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron is also expected to have surgery today performed by a specialist in New York, who will repair a bulging disc in Bergeron’s back that has been causing aggravation to his sciatic nerve.
Bruno Gervais, meanwhile, sat out of Tuesday’s game versus the Senators with an upper body injury and is listed as day-to-day. On Tuesday, Gervais was seen wearing ice packs on his shoulder.
The Norfolk Admirals, Tampa Bay’s top affiliate of the American Hockey League, has its five-year contract with the Lightning set to expire at the end of the season.
The Lightning, however, are considering switching affiliates, with the potential destination of Syracuse being considered due to what would be a reduction in travel time and costs.
According to a report in a local Syracuse newspaper, the franchise’s owner Howard Dolgon already has reached an agreement with one NHL team, but did not specify which.
VINIK BACKS YZERMAN
There were rumblings late Monday afternoon that the appointment of Steve Yzerman to Team Canada’s management team, in which he would serve as Executive Director for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, would cause a time conflict with Yzerman’s duties as Lightning general manager.
Yzerman, though, said he has no concerns about being able to fulfill both roles appropriately, and even received the blessing of Lightning owner Jeff Vinik.
“I believe his selection is well deserved and all of us at the Lightning are proud to have Steve leading the charge for his home country in the 2014 Olympic Games,” Vinik said. “Steve’s successes for Hockey Canada in 2010 helped draw us to him in our search for a General Manager that spring and I am confident that he will continue to do an excellent job for Tampa Bay while overseeing the Canadian men’s national program.”