Smith says injury is minor
Goaltender Mike Smith said his injured left knee is nothing more than a strain and he is, basically, day to day. That is good news for the Lightning, but the team still has many parts in motion because of the situation.
Consider: Jonathan Boutin was called up from AHL Norfolk on an emergency basis to back up Karri Ramo Tuesday night against the Panthers. Boutin is now on his way back to Norfolk because Tampa Bay anticipates Marc Denis clearing recall waivers at noon today and being called up to Tampa. That doesn't mean Denis will even suit up. He won't get here in time to practice on Wednesday and depending on how Smith feels, he might not get be on the bench Thursday against the Capitals.
As for Smith, he said everyone believed his knee was fine when he left practice Monday, despite the seeming pain he was sin after Marty St. Louis fell on him late in practice during a breakaway drill. But Smith said the knee flared up overnight, prompting an MRI exam that coach John Tortorella said showed "no structural damage at all.''
So now, it's just a wait and see to when Smith says he feels well enough to play. As he said, "I've played in pain before, so we'll see what I can do.''
Defenseman Paul Ranger also had an MRI exam on his injured left shoulder. Team spokesman Bill Wickett said the test was "inconclusive'' and Ranger will have further tests this week. He was hurt March 19 against the Sabres when checked into the side boards. He has what the team is calling a subluxation.