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The injury bug continues for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and this time, as you’re probably aware, it’s claimed goaltender Mike Smith. Smith didn’t accompany the team to Long Island for tonight’s game against the Islanders and after Olaf Kolzig’s season-ending surgery on Saturday we have a tandem of Karri Ramo and Mike McKenna for tonight. McKenna, who had been playing on an AHL contract in Norfolk, signed with the Lightning today, while Ramo was allowed to re-join the team today and will finish his six-game AHL suspension at another time.
Ramo gets the nod tonight, though Interim Head Coach Rick Tocchet admitted this morning he was leaning toward McKenna yesterday. Tocchet said he knows Ramo’s looking at it as a chance to prove himself and he believes the Finnish netminder, who beat Anaheim last month, will be ready to go.
McKenna could get a shot tomorrow night in Pittsburgh if Smith hasn’t rejoined the team. However, Tocchet said the news he’s heard about Smith’s unspecified upper body injury is positive, so it might not be a long wait for his return. He also said the injury did not occur during or after Friday night’s game against Philly.
The forwards scratched tonight are David Koci and Jussi Jokinen. Marek Malik, Paul Szczechura and Gary Roberts all skated this morning, though they remain on injured reserve. Roberts and Koci even engaged in a friendly “fight” on the ice at the end of practice, squaring off at full speed and basically doing everything but throw punches. Roberts ended up without a jersey or shoulder pads, but still managed to take Koci down to the ice with a large grin on his face.
That’s it for now from snowy Garden City.