Mihalik hurting, sent to Norfolk
With his groins "bothering him,'' defenseman Vladimir Mihalik will report directly to AHL Norfolk's training camp instead of reporting to Brandon for Lightning camp, GM Jay Feaster said. Defenseman David Schneider will take his place at Lightning camp, which begins Thursday.
Feaster said Mihalik, 20, did not practice Sunday at the prospects tournament in Traverse City, Mich., because of the sore groins. And considering the grueling two days of skating that is the hallmark of Tampa Bay's opening of camp (and that Mihalik was not going to challenge for a Lightning roster spot, Feaster said it would be better for Mihalik to start his pro career at Norfolk.
"It's not going to do him any harm to start in the American Hockey League,'' Feaster said. "Rather than going through the motions here and potentially having a problem from a health standpoint, let's get him going and let's get him started in his pro career.''
It is a Mutt and Jeff swap of players. Mihalik is 6 feet 7. Schneider is 5-9. Schneider, 28, signed during the summer as a free agent, spent the past four years playing in Finland. He is a four-year product of Princeton University.
Feaster said leaving Schneider off the original training camp roster had been a tough call.
"He's an older kid,'' Feaster said. "We thought he was a guy who might have a chance, and he signed with us with the belief he could come in and make the hockey team.''