AHL Norfolk G Dustin Tokasrski "very lucky" skate gash under chin (27 stitches) wasn't worse
Dustin Tokarski, one of the Lightning's top goaltending prospects with AHL Norfolk, was cut by a skate blade during Saturday's loss to Hershey and needed 27 stitches to close the gash under his chin along his jaw line.
The good news for Tokarski is the cut, according to Tampa Bay goaltenders coach Frantz Jean, was "wide but not deep," and both Jean and the Admirals confirmed Tokarski, who is with the team on its regular season-ending five-game road trip, could play later this week.
The Admirals already are down a goaltender as Cedrick Desjardins could be out the rest of the season after re-injuring the right shoulder that has bothered him since mid January. But with Jaroslav Janus up from ECHL Florida and with Pat Nagle there on an amateur tryout contract, the team should be able to weather this mini storm.
Even so, as Jean said, Tokarski got "very lucky," the injury was not worse.
Other stuff from the morning: The Lightning, playing the second of back-to-back games, did not skate and did not even have meetings, as is its usual practice. ... Mike Smith likely gets the start in net. ... Also expect wing Ryan Malone, after two days back from a groin injury, to sit out as a precaution. He also could sit out the season-finale at Carolina, which also is the second of a back-to-back. ... Hard to deny the effect Malone and Steve Downie have had since returning. In seven combined games, they have three goals and 24 hits and are plus-1. ... Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron is back in the lineup after missing two games as a healthy scratch. Interesting situation brewing with the blue liners. As soon as Randy Jones (ankle) gets back, and coach Guy Boucher still hopes he will be ready for the playoffs, Tampa Bay will have nine defensemen. That means guys on the bubble, such as Bergeron and Matt Smaby, have to show their stuff when they get in. "Absolutely," Smaby said. "It's important to make an impression and play well this time of year. But at the same time you're not going to show the coaches anything you haven't shown them so far. So, I wouldn't say there is added pressure but I would say there is pressure to play at a very high level." ... Speaking of that, Bergeron, has just one assist in past 12 games, but said, "You get a game with two or three points and I'm right back in it. I've done that many times, so I'm not too worried about it. ... Another player who has kind of disappeared lately is right wing Teddy Purcell, who has one assist and no goals in his past seven games and zero points in his past five. But Purcell said he is "fine with how my game is right now." He believes he is getting his chances, such as the two-on-on he had Saturday with Steven Stamkos. Purcell passed ("I was playing the percentages") and nothing came of the sequence. But Purcell has only seven shots in his past five games. "I'm not worried about that," he said. "I'm feeling good and still getting some chances. It's just a matter of time before they go in." ... Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told Chicago reporters there will be no retaliation against Lightning defenseman Pavel Kubina, who concussed center Dave Bolland during a March 9 game in Tampa. Bolland is still out. Kubina said he is not thinking about what the Blackhawks might do. "I'm just worried about my game," he said.
Norfolk is in good shape with its goaltending. Jaroslav Janus already is up from