With yet another player injured, Tampa Bay Lightning turns to AHL Norfolk star Trevor Smith
Injuries continue to pile up for the Tampa Bay Lightning as right wing Dana Tyrell will sit out tonight against the Bruins with an undisclosed lower-body injury. He is the seventh Lightning player who would be getting playing time out with an injury.
Tyrell's injury gives another chance to see a call-up from AHL Norfolk. Trevor Smith, who leads the Admirals with 44 points on 16 goals and 28 assists, will play tonight at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. He will start on a line with Brett Connolly and Pierre-Cedric Labrie.
"We'll see," coach Guy Boucher said when asked how he intended to use Smith. "I don't know what he's going to look like. I'm going to use him for sure, but how much and in what circumstances, we'll see what he can manager."
Smith joins, Labrie, wing J.T. Wyman and defenseman Brendan Mikkelson (acquired from the Flames) as minor leaguers who because of Tampa Bay's injuries have gotten a chance with the big club. But Smith, 26, might be the most intriguing because of his offensive success at Norfolk.
"He's a smart player," said Lightning assistant coach Dan Lacroix, who coached Smith when both were with the Islanders. "He's dependable. Coaches who have had him in the minors, and I know what our guys are saying; he's just a good player. He can play on the power play and kill penalties. He can do a little bit of everything."
Smith said he is just thankful for the opportunity.
"It's definitely exciting," he said. "You get the cal like that, it's good. You get an opportunity here, just try to earn my keep and play some minutes. Do the best you can."
Asked why he has had some success in Norfolk, Smith credited a bigger picture than just himself.
"The way we play in the offensive zone, everyone is on the same page," Smith said. "Everyone knows where the puck is going. We play a real simple game and get pucks to the net and get a lot of shots. When you play in that system you know where guys are going to go, you know where the puck is going to be, it's a lot easier to play."
Here is a list of Lightning injuries and games missed (including tonight): Mattias Ohlund (knees) 45; Ryan Shannon (knee) 12; Victor Hedman (concussion) 10; Adam Hall (forearm) 6; J.T. Wyman (finger) 6; Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) 3; Dana Tyrell (lower body) 1.
Other stuff from the morning skate: Mathieu Garon gets the start in net against the Bruins. ... As for the Lightning's slim-to-none playoff hopes, coach Guy Boucher said, "Right now, it's a moment where we have to do the impossible. The players want to do it, and they care." ... Of the Bruins, Boucher said, "We want to make sure we don't start this game on our heels or that we're dead before it starts. We are aware this is the powerhouse team in the league, the team that destroys everybody." ... The Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the nation's top college player, is being displayed at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Lightning defenseman Matt Gilroy won the award in 2009 for his senior season at Boston University. "It's a a great honor," Gilroy said. "It was never a thought in my mind. I always believed I could play hockey, but I never really knew of my abilities until that first year in college. After that, I thought anything was possible."