Taylor could play April 5
Here's a nice story, if it happens:
Lightning coach John Tortorella has given captain Tim Taylor the option of playing in the team's final game of the season April 5 at Atlanta. It would be a way for the center to finish his 13-year career as a player instead of on the sideline, where he has been since Sept. 7 hip surgery.
"He deserves that type of respect,'' Tortorella said. "He's been a loyal guy to the organization and has done a lot of things on and off the ice people don't even know about, so he deserves that right.''
The surgery is called hip resurfacing and corrected his painful, right-hip dysplasia by shaving and smoothing the head of the femur, topping it with a chrome alloy cap and fitting it into the hip socket that also was coated.
Taylor, 39, said he is "ecstatic'' at the results. He has skated since mid February but has practiced fewer than 10 times.
"I don't want to say yes. I don't want to say no,'' Taylor said of playing. "Now I'm practicing every day. Maybe the last day of the season, maybe I get that itch.''
If Taylor doesn't play, he will end his career with 746 games, 73 goals, 167 points and Stanley Cups with the Lightning in 2004 and Red Wings in 1997.
Seemed the more we talked about it Monday at the Ice Sports Forum, the more Taylor liked the idea of playing.
"That would be nice,'' he said. "To sit on the bench at the end of a game and to know, 'Okay, it's over now,' would be really nice.''
Injury updates: Jeff Halpern (abdominal strain) said he will decide today whether to play against the Panthers. ... Defenseman Paul Ranger is scheduled for an MRI exam on his injured left shoulder. ... Goalie Mike Smith hurt a knee in a breakaway drill enough that he ran into the locker room, threw his stick and laid down on the locker room floor in pain. A team spokesman later said Smith was, basically, fine.