Lightning G Mike Smith out 2-3 weeks with "minor" knee injury; Dan Ellis will get the bulk of work, Desjardins will back up
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mike Smith will be out two to three weeks with what general manager Steve Yzerman called a "minor" sprain of the medial collateral ligament of the left knee. Smith was injured during Monday's morning skate when his foot apparently was inadvertently clipped by the skate of teammate Simon Gagne, twisting the knee. He had an MRI exam that showed no structural damage, Yzerman said.
Yzerman said Dan Ellis will get the bulk of the work going forward. But he also said he has no plans to go outside the organization to get a goalie once the NHL roster freeze is over on Dec. 27. Yzerman said he is comfortable with Cedrick Desjardins as the backup. With AHL Norfolk off until Dec. 26, Desjardins was called up Monday by coincidence for a week of work with goaltenders coach Frantz Jean. Yzerman said it will be up to coach Guy Boucher if and when Desjardins gets his first NHL start.
A start for Desjardins would help the Lightning, too, as he is on a one-year contract.
"He's played well in the American league and at some point he has to get an opportunity in the NHL," Yzerman said. "We have to figure out what we're doing with him as well."
It also is an opportunity for Ellis, who has struggled, to show he has the stuff to carry the No. 1 load.
"He's going to get games," Yzerman said. "Maybe things balance themselves out over the next few weeks. He's worked hard and now he's going to get an opportunity in games."