Injuries, Injuries and more injuries to talk about with the Tampa Bay Lightning
We're supposed to get a report today from Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman on the status of injured right wing Adam Hall. It is not expected to be good. But what else is new for the Lightning right now? Tampa Bay is without defensemen Mattias Ohlund and Victor Hedman, Hall and fellow forwards Ryan Shannon and J.T. Wyman.
But let's start with Hall since we apparently will get some new information about him, though the player indicated today that he has some sort of muscle issue in an arm as a result of his Jan. 5 fight with Ottawa's Matt Carkner.
"He's a huge part of our team defensively," coach Guy Boucher said of Hall. "He's the most reliable forward that we've got. He's our best faceoff guy, one of the tops in the league. He blocks shots. He pays the price. He's one of our top guys for penalty kills. It's just another big piece for us to lose."
Hall, 31, doesn't have enough faceoffs to qualify among the official league leaders, but he has a league-best 62.5 winning percentage among players with more than 200 faceoffs. He is minus-1 on a team with a minus-27 goal differential. His average 3:17 of penalty kill time leads all Lightning forwards.
"We're going to give some other guys the opportunity to fill that role, but we don't want to put pressure on the guys to be Adam Hall," Boucher said. "We've got to fill it collectively rather than think one guy is going to replace him."
"It's never any fun being injured," Hall said. "You want to get back as soon as possible. You want to be in their with them."
The rest of the injury report:
* Hedman skated today for the first time since sustaining a concussion Dec. 27 against he Flyers. The defenseman skated with Shannon and Wyman. Hedman did not wear equipment and really didn't do anything physical other than pass the puck around. Hedman said he still is feeling the concussion symptoms.
* Shannon (lower-body) skated for the second straight day.
* Wyman (right pinkie) skated for the first time. Wyman said he basically has a gash on the finger. "We're waiting for the skin to come together," he said. In the meantime he said he is on antibiotics to fight any infection.
* Ohlund said he is still rehabbing his balky knees and that it is going "slowly, obviously." Ohlund, who has not played a regular-season game, still isn't skating and has no timetable to do so. He said he still hopes to play this season. "Nobody has said I can't play again this season," he said. "I'm taking it one game at a time and not looking too far ahead."
Other stuff from the morning skate: As expected, Dwayne Roloson gets the start in net for the Lightning. Sounds as if Cory Schneider will start for Vancouver. ... Newly acquired defenseman Brendan Mikkelson will play his first game for Tampa Bay. He is not expected to play a lot, Boucher said. "Right now he needs to take baby steps and come in and do the simple things well for the amount of time he will be given." Mikkelson, who won the 2007 Memorial Cup playing for WHL Vancouver with Evander Kane, Milan Lucic and former Lightning property James Wright. "Under the bright lights of a game things change," Mikkelson said. "Things look pretty simple drawn up on a board and on video. I'm trying to get as much of it down to muscle memory as you can so when you go out there you're not thinking too much. You're just kind of reacting and reading plays." ... How big for the Lightning is this stretch of 12 games in which nine are at home? "The next 12 games are probably going to show what's going to happen to us," Boucher said. "It's very crucial."