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Lightning's Bishop aims to be ready for opening night

by Staff /

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop admits his surgically repaired right wrist needs to get stronger, but he doesn't foresee it causing him any issues in training camp.


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"The range of motion, everything is good. Strength still needs to get a little stronger, but I'm able to practice with the guys, that's good," Bishop told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday. "By the time the season starts, hopefully it'll be closer to 100 percent. I don't know if it'll ever be close to 100 percent, but it's getting better every day. So hopefully in a couple weeks here it'll be ready to go."

Bishop played with the injury during the latter stages of last season. It wasn't until sustaining an unrelated elbow injury that he was forced out of the lineup; he was unable to play during the Lightning's four-game loss to the Montreal Canadiens in their Eastern Conference First Round playoff series.

Until recently, he had been wearing extra padding on his blocker. The expectation is that the wrist won't be a problem when the Lightning hold their first practice Friday.

Coach Jon Cooper said he isn't going to rush Bishop during camp.

"Is it necessary that we push our goaltenders or other players on our team hard in the first week of camp? We don't want to push them in an uncomfortable way regarding injury. But there is nothing that has given us any indication that these guys are taking steps back," Cooper said Thursday. "We want to makes sure our guys are in top shape, 100 percent ready to go opening night when we play Florida. I'm not necessarily saying we need to rush guys tomorrow when the first day of skating happens. As far as I know, everybody is progressing and they'll be healthy on opening night."

The Lightning open their season Oct. 9 against the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena.

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