Smith is hurt, is it bad?
We won't find out until tonight, when Lightning goaltender Mike Smith will see the doctor, but consider that the team is calling up Jonathan Boutin from AHL Norfolk to be the backup to Karri Ramo for tonight's game against the Panthers and is putting Marc Denis on 24-hour re-call waivers so they can get him in here.
Smith was hurt during a breakaway drill at the end of Monday's practice when Marty St. Louis fell over him. He was in enough pain to be down on the floor of the locker room in full gear while his left knee was being looked at by trainer Tommy Mulligan.
Even so, the report from the team was that Smith was fine. Now, he isn't. Guess the knee didn't react well overnight.
Wouldn't that just fit how this season is going if Smith were significantly injured? The team trades one of its marquee players for whom it hopes is its goalie of the future, and what happens? They get Boutin for tonight and then, perhaps, Denis. That is if he is not claimed on recall waivers.
FYI: Boutin is 12-15-5 with a 3.25 goals-against average and a .902 save percentage and two shutouts in 34 games with the Admirals. Denis is 9-15-3 with a 3.09 goals-against average, a .905 save percentage and one shutout in 28 games.
More to come, obviously.
Other stuff from this morning: Coach John Tortorella said he was going to play Smith in tonight's game, but, of course, is now forced to go to Ramo. That is an interesting situation as well. Ramo got lit up pretty good his last game against the Sabres. "I'm concerned,'' Tortorella said about playing Ramo, "but I also want to see how he reacts.'' ... Speaking of Ramo, Tortorella said he believes the goalie needs to begin next season in the minors. "I'm worried is this the proper process for him,'' Tortorella said. Ramo has had a difficult season. He missed a significant amount of time in Norfolk at the start of the season with a high ankle sprain, and his time with the Lightning has been uneven. Tortorella said he believes Ramo should guide Norfolk for a full season, carry the load, so to speak, to understand what that is really like before getting a full season, as a backup in the NHL." GM Jay Feaster said no decision has been made, though it could be a discussion after the season's evaluations are done. But if Ramo is sent down, it will add yet another element to what will be a busy summer. ... Center Jeff Halpern (abdominal strain) is expected to play. ... Tortorella on the playoff-hungry Panthers who enter tonight three points out of the East's eighth and final playoff spot: "We definitely want to put (the Panthers) out of your misery tonight. I'm sure they'll have something to say about it.'' ... Tortorella said he didn't want to make any evaluations on defenseman Matt Smaby after only two games since his call-up from Norfolk, but bottom line, he wants him to play meaner. He also reiterated concerns about Smaby's foot speed, but added, "He can make up foot speed with quicker decisions.''
Note on Fan Appreciation Nights: captain Tim Taylor and Dave Andreychuk will be on the St. Pete Times Forum plaza stage to answer questions 6:45-7:15 p.m. before games Saturday against the Hurricanes and Monday against the Thrashers. ...