Ben Bishop on target for mid-January return
For the second straight day, Lightning goalie Ben Bishop faced shots in full gear, completing workouts with goalie coach Frantz Jean.
It's an encouraging sign for Bishop, who is expected to be out until mid-January with a lower body injury. Bishop said he's ready to join practice, as early as Friday, and still plans to return to the lineup sometime when the team is in California (Jan. 16-19).
"That's obviously still the goal, maybe sooner," Bishop said Thursday. "We'll take it as it goes. Things are going in the right direction. I'm excited to be back."
Bishop suffered a lower-body injury Dec. 20 in the first period of a 4-1 win over the Red Wings. He was making a right pad save and stayed down face-first for a few moments before skating off.
"I felt it right away," Bishop said. "It stinks. It's never fun to get hurt. But it's the same thing, not much you can do about it. Just deal with it."
Bishop, who got hurt in the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, was encouraged this wasn't a serious injury and won't impact his long-term career. But it was once again bad timing, Bishop in the final year of his contract with the Lightning, which had been struggling. There's no doubt Bishop's name will be part of trade speculation before the March deadline.
Backup Andrei Vasilevskiy has gone 4-2-1 since taking over for Bishop, the prospect's first crack at being a No. 1. Vasilevskiy has allowed three goals or more in four of his six starts since Bishop's injury.
"I think it's been a little bit up and down," Bishop said of Vasilevskiy. "There have been some good, some tough ones. But I think as a goalie you want to help give the team a chance to win every night and I think he's done that most of the nights. That's all you can ask for."