Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mike Smith apparently passes a test; he's hit in the head by a shot
Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Brian Lawton was about to wrap up a quick summation of injury updates when he threw in this: goaltender Mike Smith, wearing his helmet and mask while practicing in Toronto, was hit in the head with a shot.
"Thank God," Lawton said, "it was from a 14-year-old."
In that sense, there was more relief in Lawton's voice than anything else. No kidding. Smith, the Lightning's No. 1 goalie, has been on the ice only about a week since spending six months recovering from post-concussion syndrome that had kept him sidelined since Jan. 30.
Smith is skating at a camp run by his personal coach, Jon Elkin, and has been taking shots from some of the campers. Apparently one got a wrist shot a little bit too high. But Lawton said there did not appear to be any damage done.
"He did get hit in the head," Lawton said, but added, "there were no effects from it."
As for the other Lightning players who faced injuries, here is the update:
Wing Adam Hall: had what Lawton called "minor" surgery for a sports hernia and is expected to be ready for training camp.
Defensemen Andrej Meszaros and Paul Ranger: both had arthroscopic surgery to fix torn labrums in their left shoulders. Lawton said both were examined in early July by noted orthopedist James Andrews, who performed the surgeries, and are expected to be cleared from contact by the beginning of training camp." Added trainer Tommy Mulligan: "There is no reason to believe that either would not be ready for camp."
Center Vinny Lecavalier: The captain has said he is playing golf regularly and expects no limitations from his surgically repaired right wrist.
Defensema Matt Smaby: Smaby himself has said his broken right foot is healed.
Goaltender Antero Niittymaki: Lawton said Niittymaki, who has had three surgeries to repair labrum tears in both hips, is on a stringent workout program he will have to do for the rest of his career, but expects him to be in good shape entering training camp.
As for contracts, Lawton said he expects in the next few weeks to sign defensemen Mike Lundin and Matt Lashoff and wing Martins Karsums. Actually, those guys don't have much choice. They can either sign or sit out as the Lightning has their negotiating rights. Those rights also can be traded. Besides, it's only early August.