Tampa Bay Lightning calls up defensemen Mike Lundin and Matt Smaby from AHL Norfolk
Busy morning for the Tampa Bay Lightning, which called up defensemen Mike Lundin and Matt Smaby from AHL Norfolk.
Lundin is not expected to play Saturday against the Hurricanes, but coach Rick Tocchet made it seem like Lundin will get in a game soon. Lundin's call-up seems tied to the right ankle injury of defenseman Mattias Ohlund, who won't play until Wednesday against the Rangers at the earliest. With back-to-back games, Tampa Bay, with just six healthy defensemen, needed a little depth, and Lundin has played well for the Admirals with two goals and 11 points in 20 games and at plus-3. Lundin did not have to clear recall waivers because of his $105,000 minor league salary, the most a player can make without needing to clear recall waivers.
Smaby's recall seems tied to an undisclosed upper-body injury. Smaby, who hasn't played an NHL game this season, was sent to Norfolk on Nov. 16 for a conditioning assignment. Those assignments are generally for two weeks. It is the second time Smaby has been hurt this season on a conditioning assignment.
Neither player was with the team at Saturday's morning skate.
Other stuff from the morning skate: Ohlund said he did not believe his right ankle injury, sustained Saturday against the Kings when he said his skate caught in the ice, would linger as long as it has. But Ohlund is at a point where he said his short-term goal is simply to get back on the ice. He said in a "perfect world" he would play Wednesday at the St. Pete Times Forum against the Maple Leafs, but would not make any commitments until he sees how he feels on skates which could happen in "the next day or two. It's just one of those things that when it happened, I didn't think it was anything, but it's been very slow. But it feels better every day." Coach Rick Tocchet said the injury has been "frustrating" because Ohlund eats up 24:33 of ice time, but Tocchet stressed he will not rush his defenseman. "If it's going to take a couple of day after (Wednesday), I'm all for it. A guy like him logs a lot of minutes. We want to make sure he's fairly healthy." ... Tocchet credited center Zenon Konopka's fight Thursday with Anaheim's Mike Brown with helping ignite Tampa Bay's comeback against the Ducks. Tampa Bay was down 2-0 at the time of the bout. It fell behind 3-0, but Tocchet said he saw a spark after Konopka put Brown to the ice. "People say, 'Ah, I don't believe that stuff,' but it worked for us. That's as good as a point. That's an assist," Tocchet said. The discussion started when it was brought up Konopka has zero points. Konopka said he doesn't mind. "If we were losing games, I would be worried about not burying those chances," he said. "But as long as we win, I don't care how we win, and that's the bottom line." ... Tocchet praised defenseman Andrej Meszaros for raising his game. Meszaros is plus-4 his past five games after going minus-8 in his previous 14. He played a season-high 25:02 against the Ducks. "We challenged him and his game has gotten better," Tocchet said. What was the challenge? "(Associate coach) Rick Wilson challenged him with video. He didn't play as much sometimes. We took him out of certain situations, power play time. Those are the bullets you have." ... Goaltender Antero Niittymaki, expected to play Sunday in Atlanta, is 13-0 against the Thrashers. "It's just one of those things," he said. "It's kind of fun. I'd like to go 14-0. Hopefully, we're going to have a good game and win." ... Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said his team's 14-game winless streak, which ended last Sunday and included a seven-game losing streak, has been the most challenging situation of his coaching career. "These things either get you closer together or a whole lot farther apart. You're just watching for signs that it's going either way and try to encourage that they stay in the fight together." As for his players, he said, "The fight is still there." And former Lightning forward Jussi Jokinen said, "We realized it doesn't do us any good to be negative. We had to find those positive things. We were still doing good things in the games."