Coach Guy Boucher says Steve Downie (back) will sit out Saturday; Downie not so sure
The Tampa Bay Lightning's injury list is getting longer by the day as coach Guy Boucher on Friday said right wing Steve Downie will not play in Saturday's road-trip finale against the Sharks. But Downie, while acknowledging "we have some evaluating to do," added that "no, I never rule myself out."
Downie, Boucher said, had a stiff back even before Thursday's game with the Kings in which Downie, clearly a target, was cross-checked, punched in the back of the head and fought Willie Mitchell at the end of a rough-and-tumble contest Boucher called "a man's game." In fact, Boucher originally said Downie was not going to play. In other words, we have to wait for game time to be sure who is and isn't going to play.
With that in mind, here is how the injury list shapes up.
Expected to be out of Saturday's game are left wing Simon Gagne, who has missed six games with a strained neck; Downie; and, it seems, defenseman Victor Hedman, who was a surprise scratch from Thursday's game. Hedman had X-rays, which indicated a contusion of the outside of his right foot. Hedman is in a walking boot and called himself day-to-day.
Those who are hurting but might be able to play: left wing Marty St. Louis, who has a badly bruised left big toe; defenseman Matt Smaby (bruised right foot), left wing Sean Bergenheim (bruised left foot), center Dominic Moore, who has missed four games with a strained groin; left wing Mattias Ritola (illness); and center Nate Thompson (knee).
Like I said, given how things can change from hour-to-hour, nothing is in stone.
How determined are the players to get into the game? Well, St. Louis before Thursday's game with the Kings, had his big toe twice drained of blood with a needle through his toenail just so he could get his foot in the skate.
Why push oneself like that?
"You can't compare sitting in the stands with a boo-boo and being in a battle with the boys," said St. Louis, who described his needle work as "a dentist experience; pain to make you feel better. ... You don't want to miss a battle with the boys."