Smith still out, injury "a little bit" of a mystery
Not the best injury report from the Lightning after Friday's practice in Brandon.
Coach Rick Tocchet did not rule out goaltender Mike Smith being on the bench for Saturday's game with the Islanders, but he did not sound convincing. Tocchet said that Mike McKenna will get the star. The guess here is that Smith doesn't even suit up. That has to be a disappointment to the organization at the start of a last-gasp playoff push with a six-game home stand, and to GM Brian Lawton who said earlier this week he believed Smith would be in the lineup.
And there are no guarantees when Smith will be back. Coach Rick Tocchet said he expects him back sooner rather than later. But consider this: trainer Tommy Mulligan said they have not exactly pinpointed the upper-body injury. He did say it occurred before the Jan. 30 game against the Flyers, and that it is something Smith had not dealt with before. But asked if it was a bit of a mystery, Mulligan said, "A little bit."
As for Andrej Meszaros, his upper left arm injury likely will keep him out of Saturday's game. If so, it will be the first game, after playing in 298 since the start of his career, Meszaros will miss. Mulligan called his chances to play "slim." With defenseman Marek Malik reiterating that he still has pain in his right ankle, especially after skating a while, David Koci practiced Friday on the blue line.
As for Jussi Jokinen, he has not been sent to AHL Norfolk and he did not practice on Friday. What does that mean? Perhaps that Tampa Bay is working on a trade.
"He's such a god guy," coach Rick Tocchet said. "You hope somebody picks him up or he goes to another team."