Tampa Bay Lightning lineup in flux as 3 players are ill and 3, so far, have been recalled
The Tampa Bay Lightning roster took a hit overnight as forwards Teddy Purcell and Nate Thompson and defenseman Brendan Mikkelson got the flu and are so sick, coach Guy Boucher said if even one of them plays tonight against the Canadiens, he would consider it a bonus.
To take their places, the Lightning recalled three players from AHL Norfolk who were sent down on Monday: forwards Trevor Smith and Mike Angelidis and defenseman Evan Oberg. There also was speculation Pierre-Cedric Labrie would also be recalled but that has not happened yet.
Add defensemen David Lee and Mike Commodore, acquired before Monday's trade deadline, and forward Brandon Segal, who on Monday was called up from Norfolk, and the Lightning will be looking a lot different on the ice.
"I don't know who's going to play tonight," Boucher said. "We'll see who we've got on the ice."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Right wing Brett Connolly certainly is happy to still be with the Lightning. Tampa Bay had until the trade deadline to send him to Tri-City of the junior Western league so he would be eligible for its playoffs. But Tampa Bay decided it was better for his development that he remain with the big club. That, and the team simply needs bodies right now. Whatever the reason, Connolly breathed a sigh of relief. "I can focus on contributing more and be part of us getting into the playoffs. I'm very excited to be playing more and contributing very soon." Connolly's past three games, in which he has gotten power-play time, have been his best in a while. He has one assist in his past 26 games. In a wild understatement, he said, "When I'm playing 13, 14 minutes, I feel better than when I'm playing five minutes in terms of my legs." ... Commodore, who played just 17 games for the Red Wings before being traded to the Lightning for a conditional seventh-round draft pick, said he had a "great time" in Detroit "all things considered. The guys were awesome. There were a lot of great people there." But he was frustrated because he said the Wings gave him a 15-minute window to sign a free-agent contract on July 1, "So, I thought there was going to be an opportunity for me. It just didn't work out for me for whatever reason. I just never really got a shot, so you move on. I wish them nothing but the best." ... Speaking of Commodore, he was a member of the 2004 Flames tam that lost the Stanley Cup to Tampa Bay. "They have some nice reminders here in the dressing room, so that's nice to look at," Commodore said of the Tampa Bay Times Forum. That was obviously one of the things on my mind when I came in here seeing all the pictures." Commodore won a Cup in 2006 with the Hurricanes. "I've gotten over it," he said of 2004. "I was fortunate to get back to the finals the next year after the lockout, so I got over it by getting it right the next time." ... Defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron flew to New York on Tuesday to see a doctor about the back injury that is affecting his sciatic nerve. "We want to find a way to get it better. I'm sure there's a way to get rid of it and resolve the situation." ... Boucher said he is hopeful center Vinny Lecavalier (fractured right hand) can be back in 10 days, though that is optimistic.