Tocchet: Smith not hurt during tantrum
Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said after Tuesday's morning skate that goaltender Mike Smith did not injure himself throwing a tantrum after being pulled from Friday's game with the Flyers. Smith, who has an undisclosed upper-body injury, took out his frustrations on a water bottle, his stick and a cart in the hallway leading to the locker room. Smith did not practice Saturday and Monday and, as of Tuesday morning, was not expected to join the team in Long Island.
Tocchet declined to give specifics about Smith's injury other than it is minor and he should be okay in a couple of days. He did, however, say Smith was not hurt during the episode after he was pulled.
"No, no, no, no," Tocchet said. "It wasn't him smashing his sticks and stuff."
Of the injury: "It's been something he's been dealing with."
Of the treatment Smith received Monday in Tampa: "I heard positive stuff."
Of Smith's tantrum: "If I got a splinter, he would have been in trouble."
Other stuff from this morning: Karri Ramo gets the start in net, though Tocchet said he thought about starting Mike McKenna. Tocchet said the staff hashed it out and decided Ramo's experience gave him dibs on the start. Tocchet reiterated, though, he will have no qualms about starting McKenna Wednesday in Pittsburgh if Ramo is not sharp against New York. ... Said McKenna: "To me if I don't start every game I dress, it's a little disappointing. Then again, you know when the coaches are thinking and Karri has a lot of experience on this level and they're trying to do what they can to win hockey games. If they decide to go with me in the future, that's terrific and I'd love to do it." ... This is the fifth go-round for Ramo with the Lightning this season. "I was there in the plane thinking, 'This is pretty ridiculous,' " he said. ... So far, Ramo has served three games of his six-game AHL suspension for leaving the bench to join an altercation. He said of sitting out, "It's painful. You can't really think what to do. You get pretty bored." ... McKenna's contract is a two-way deal for the rest of this season. ... Defenseman Marek Malik is skating with the team. He has missed six games with a right ankle injury. Malik said he wants to come back as soon as possible but there is still pain. Better, he said, not to push it and perhaps re-injure the joint. He said the toughest aspect is putting his full weight on the ankle when making a turn. ... Forwards David Koci and Jussi Jokinen will be scratched. ... Tocchet on his first coaching gig: "You try to create a culture; it's your team, it's your philosophy, your identity. It's been a bumpy ride in certain respects, but I love the challenge. It's been a lot of fun. It's fun when you see progress with players and the team. That, I think, is the most satisfaction you get." ... With Malik getting set to return, left wing Gary Roberts "close" to being recovered from a torn elbow tendon and forward Paul Szczechura (lower body) also skating, the Lightning will have several personnel decisions to make in the near future.