Lightning suits up 50th player tonight
The Lightning made two call-upfrom AHL Norfolk s for tonight's game with the Capitals: defensemen KevinQuick and defenseman Geoff Kinrade. Quick has been here before, but Kinrade is making his NHL debut, which means Tampa Bay will suit up its 50th player and NHL record 22nd defenseman.
Kinrade, 23, is in a pretty interesting situation. Signed March 20 by the Admirals to an amateur tryout contract out of Michigan Tech, he is expected to sign a one-game amateur tryout contract with the Lightning so he can play against Washington.
"When I told him he was going up, I thought he was going to throw up on my shoes," Norfolk GM Mike Butters said. "He was so nervous."
Lightning coach Rick Tocchet appreciates the situation and said, "We'll get him in good situations. I don't think his first shift should be against Ovechkin, but he might have a chance to go against him and test himself. It's a dream come true for him."
Butters said Kinrade is a good skater who "tracks the puck well and is not afraid to jump into the play. He's smart." He also has a goal and four points in the eight games he has played for Norfolk.
How did things get to a point where Kinrade was Tampa Bay's best option. Well, start with the fact that the Lightning added left wing Ryan Malone (hand) and defenseman Matt Lashoff (lower body) to the injury list. That left Tampa Bay with just Lukas Krajicek, Noah Welch, Matt Smaby and Vladimir Mihalik on the blue line, especially if you expect David Koci to play as a forward. That led to the call-ups of Quick and Kinrade.
Why Kinrade? Well, Norfolk has some injury problems of its own with defensemen Brent Henley (elbow) and Scott Jackson (leg) both out, Mike Lundin would have to clear waivers, something the Lightning does not want to take a chance on and Ty Wishart is away from the team on personal business. And, hey, Kinrade has played well.
Kinrade gets one game to make his case to stay, as the tryout contact is for one game only. It is to be seen hat the team will do for Saturday's season finale in Atlanta.
Other stuff from this morning: Today is Tocchet's 45th birthday. ... Karri Ramo gets the start in net. ... Just as a reminder, the Lightning record is 53 players set in 1999-2000. ... To compensate for the lack of experience on the blue line, Tocchet stressed the need to "play as five," against the Capitals. "I don't want to see us back off. I want us to play an abrasive game, in their face to slow them down. We can't back off against this team, especially in our building." ... Don Koharski, 53, a Dade City resident, ill refereehis final game tonight. It will be his 1,976th game, including playoffs. It is his 2,139th if you count the games he worked as a linesman from 1977-79.