Game-time decisions on Tampa Bay Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier and D Marc-Andre Bergeron
The Tampa Bay Lightning could get some good news today about two of its walking wounded as captain Vinny Lecavalier and defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron might play against the Canadiens.
Lecavalier, who has missed one game, has a sore lower-back injury from a check he threw on New Jersey's David Steckel late in the third period of Wednesday's game with the Devils. Bergeron has back spasms from doing squats on an off-day last week. Both skated Saturday morning, but both also seemed a little stiff afterward.
"It's still pretty stiff," said Lecavalier, who has seven goals and 15 points in his past 14 games. "We'll see how it feels and how it reacts and we'll see if I'm going to play or not."
Lecavalier said the injury has made great progress in healing. Still, he added, "You don't know for sure until you kind of use it like I did there and how it reacts in the afternoon. We'll know more tonight. ... You want to be smart. You don't want an injury worse by playing because it is the Montreal Canadiens. It's special to play them, so I'd like to be part of the game."
Bergeron, it is interesting to note, said this is the second time in his career that he hurt his back by doing squats. The first time, he said, he played through it. To be safe going forward he said he has sworn off squats and will do other exercises to train his legs.
"There are smarter ways to do that," he said. "Any leg exercise will do."
The Lightning could use both, especially on the power play. The thought of a failed 1:53 five-on-three during Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Bruins certainly still stings.
More injuries: Right wing Steve Downie will miss tonight's game. He was hurt in the second period against the Bruins with what was believed an aggravation of the high ankle sprain he has battled. But coach Guy Boucher said there is an additional issue, though it is not serious. "we have to give him some rest," Boucher said. Downie has not played well recently, with just three assists in his past six games. The timeout could help refocus him. ... Defenseman Mike Lundin, who will miss his 12th game tonight with what is believed an abdominal injury, said he feels good enough to play. The only issue is his conditioning, which he says is quickly returning. He said he would love to play by Wednesday against the Blackhawks, though nothing is official. ... Wing Mattias Ritola was scheduled to take Downie's place on a line with center Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis. But Ritola took ill with a stomach problem. His status is uncertain. ... It's been a long time since we've even seen wing Ryan Malone in the locker room, but Boucher said he is making progress overcoming what is believed a partially torn stomach muscle. Boucher said the team "got lucky" because Malone has not needed any surgical repair. Still, don't expect to see Malone before April. ... Bergeron's comment that he is injury simply needs time "but that's one thing we don't have," prompted an interesting exchange with Boucher, who was asked about the tension of wanting to let players fully heal and getting them back in the lineup. "To me there's two ways," Boucher said. "Either you're injured or you're hurt. They're not the same. If you're hurt, time to play. If you've got an injury, that's different. They have to decide if they're hurt or injured." Asked how the decision is made between the player and team, Boucher said, "Some guys need some pushing and some guys need the opposite and need to be pulled back. It depends on which guy. It depends on what they therapist and the doctors say about how dangerous it is to come back. If it's something that is structurally wrong that could be a lot worse (if he plays) and we could lose him for three weeks, then we don't want him out there."
Growing boy: During a casual conversation with defenseman Victor Hedman about a Scandinavian restaurant in New York, where he and some teammates ate last week, fellow Swede Mattias Ohlund described what his teammate ate. First, Ohlund said, Hedman, who at 20 years old is 6 feet 6, had "a big plate" of Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes. Then he had a steak (another "big plate," Ohlund said stretching out his hands as if he was describing a big fish), and then he had a burger. Told that sounded as if he could have been eating at any American restaurant, Hedman said they were "Swedish specialties." Whatever they were, sounded like Hedman got his fill.