Hedman and Thompson out, Gilroy in tonight
There has been no real update on the upper body injury to Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, but he's definitely out tonight and it appears doubtful he'll be ready for Saturday's game against Carolina.
Hedman hasn't been available to the media since getting hurt in the first period of Tuesday's game, when coach Guy Boucher said he had a bad fall into the boards. Nobody has said it has anything to do with a concussion. But Boucher indicated the injury isn't quite a black and white issue, with the team planning on evaluating him each day, unsure of when he'd return.
"It's really hard to say," Boucher said. "I'd love to say he's out for a while and it's clear. It's really day to day."
The Lightning will have the services of defenseman Matt Gilroy, who has been out since Dec. 15 with a lower body injury. While Gilroy was playing top-four minutes until he got hurt, it's unclear how much of a load he'll be able to take, at least right away.
"I don't know, just take it simple and not try to do too much," Gilroy said.
Boucher said he just wants Gilroy to play a calm game. He pointed out how Gilroy's problem early on this season was being a bit erratic, something he got better with, but reverted back a little in the last couple games before the injury.
"He's got good skills, good vision, he can really surprise you offensively," Boucher said. "That's why he's with us, he's one of those guys that has to learn the trade of being a defenseman, being reliable and bring his offensive tools after that's all taken care of, and I thought he learned that quite fast since the beginning of the year and he eventually was playing against the top lines for a while because we had injuries, and he did fine. But the last games he was playing he started to go back to being erratic a little bit so I wanted to make sure that doesn't creep back in."
Other stuff from morning skate: C Nate Thompson (lower body) is out tonight, with his injury not recovering as quick as the team has hoped. "He's one of those guys that works so hard and battles so hard, he's going to get into those battles and it'd be a little too early to get into those battles now," Boucher said. "And I feel that he's not quite ready yet."....There was no additional discipline by the league stemming from the bench scrum in the Lightning-Flyers game Tuesday....The Lightning had an optional morning skate today....Adam Hall, a former Michigan State standout, said he was invited to one of the Spartans practices this week in preparation for the Outback Bowl.. Lightning rookie Brett Connolly scored a highlight-reel goal for Team Canada at the world junior hockey championship. D Evan Oberg will be recalled today from AHL Norfolk to serve as insurance in case of an extra injury on defense.
-- JOE SMITH