Tampa Bay Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier out with mid-body injury; Blair Jones, Mattias Ritola recalled
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier will miss at least tonight's game with the Bruins because of a mid-body injury sustained in Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Devils. The injury apparently occurred when Lecavalier checked New Jersey's David Steckel into the corner boards in the offensive zone with 3:16 left in the game. Lecavalier stayed in the game and played the final 1:34.
Forwards Blair Jones and Mattias Ritola were re-called from AHL Norfolk.
Lecavalier, while not revealing the injury, said it is not something that could require surgery.
"No, not at all," he said. "It's just something you have to treat, and sometimes it takes a little longer than other times. ... It's more of a day-to-day thing. But, obviously, we're going to have to keep an eye on it and treat it. I can't say if tomorrow it's going to be good or the day after that."
"He might be okay tomorrow," coach Guy Boucher said, "or he might be okay in a week."
The injury comes at an inconvenient time for Lecavalier, who missed 15 games earlier this season with a hand injury that required surgery. He has played much better lately and has seven goals and 15 points in his past 14 games.
"That's very disappointing," Lecavalier said of the injury. I'm starting to feel really good, not just scoring-wise but skating. I'm feeling really great out there, not tired. I feel like I have a spring in my step, so it's disappointing."
It is not yet known how coach Guy Boucher will configure his lines, but he has a lot of work to do with the power play with both Lecavalier and defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron on the sidelines. Bergeron missed Wednesday's game because of back spasms caused by doing squats.
Other stuff from the morning: Boucher said both he and general manager Steve Yzerman spoke to Steven Stamkos about the slump in which he has one goal in nine games and zero shots in his past two. "It's important that he can't lose confidence because he's having a few games where it's not working out," Boucher said. "But he's got to figure out a way to get out of those little moments." Boucher said that means shooting the puck. The coach said he counted eight chances for Stamkos to shoot in the first and second periods against the Devils, and he didn't. "Eight is a lot," Boucher said. "So, out of eight opportunities that he shoots, there's going to be at least one goal in there or something happening from his shot." ... Jones has 20 goals and 44 points in 47 games for Norfolk. Ritola, who was sent to Norfolk Feb. 10 while he tries to get his Meniere's disease under control, has two goals and 11 points in nine games. ... Did anyone notice the kind-of shot former Lightning goalie Dan Ellis took at his former defensive teammates? In Canada's Globe and Mail, Ellis, who was traded for goalie Curtis McElhinney (since lost to the Senators on waivers), said: "Every time I go to touch the puck behind the net, there's consistency back there. There's consistency in communication. There's also consistency in positioning, whereas in Tampa and Nashville, any time you had the puck back there, you didn't know what you were going to get. I haven't had that type of consistency since playing in the Dallas organization, so that's been a huge bonus." Tampa Bay defenseman Pavel Kubina said in response, "For myself, I know when the goalie had the puck, I'm always talking to them. I don't know if he's a little (upset) or something (about the trade). It's tough to say after you see a comment like that." ... Yzerman said Norfolk goalie Cedrick Desjardins, out since Jan. 16 with a right shoulder injury, will practice for a week before an evaluation is made to see if he can get back in the lineup. ... A reminder that Saturday's game with the Canadiens at the St. Pete Times Forum is at 7 p.m. because of Canadian TV. Monday's game with the Capitals at the Times Forum also is at 7 p.m. because of Versus.