Anton Stralman on trip, a 'chance' he could play second round
Defenseman Anton Stralman is moving closer to a return to the Lightning lineup.
Stralman joined Tampa Bay on its trip to Detroit for Games 3 and 4. And while Stralman won't play in this first-round series, he seems to be making some encouraging progress.
Stralman, who fractured his left leg Mar. 25, no longer uses crutches or a cast. On Sunday, Stralman was working out with the team's strength and conditioning assistant Mark Lambert, then rode the exercise bike.
"He will not play in the first round," coach Jon Cooper said. "If we're fortunate enough to move on, then now we can start talking about, 'There's a chance of seeing him.' But there's no timeline. I can just say he will not be playing against Detroit."
But like with captain Steven Stamkos (blood clot, out 1-3 months), having Stralman's presence around the team can be impactful.
"He's an extremely popular player on that team," Cooper said. "And he's one of those guys that he's quiet but he's a really fun guy, he keeps things light in our group. Much like when Stammer was around our team, a reallly popular player on our team, part of our success is we have a close team, so the more these guys are around, it's been good for everyone. Plus, you see them around, you feel like, 'Okay, they're coming back.'"