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The news wasn’t good regarding Dan Boyle today, as Lightning GM Jay Feaster released a statement (CLICK HERE TO READ) revealing that the Lightning defenseman will need another surgery on his left wrist. According to Feaster, two of the three tendons that were surgically repaired in Boyle’s wrist have not healed properly and will need further surgical repair. Boyle, who skated in four games since his return, complained after the Saturday game against Atlanta that the strength in his wrist wasn’t what he’d hoped for, prompting an MRI yesterday.
Feaster said no timeline will be set for Boyle’s return until after the second surgery has taken place. So, what does it all mean for the Lightning? You can’t possibly diminish the contributions of a player of Boyle’s abilities, but the team fought hard to post a 5-3-1 record before his return and can continue to have success with him out of the lineup. The Lightning’s other defensemen stepped up to play additional minutes with Boyle out, and Doug Janik showed last year that he is a solid NHL D-man. It is expected that the Lightning will recall Matt Smaby later today to return to a rotation between Smaby and Janik for the final spot.
The Lightning were without another defenseman for today’s practice at the St. Pete Times Forum, but only because Filip Kuba is battling a bug and was given the day off. The rest of the team went through a light practice that seemed to focus a lot on finishing offensive opportunities.
After the practice, John Tortorella was direct in his comments.
“You need to have a short-term memory when you’re playing an NHL season,” Tortorella said. “It goes both ways, in winning and losing. We need to find a way to make one more play – whatever it takes to win one game.
“We need to do more things right in all areas of our game to get over the hump. I think we’re a good team and I believe it will show. I think we’ll get out of this and we’ll get better.”
Finally, the NHL All-Star Game ballots were released today and the Lightning are well represented with Boyle, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis included. From Nov. 13 through Jan. 2, fans can vote online at NHL.com to select the starting lineups for the 2008 game in Atlanta.