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Faceoff falloff an indicator Tampa Bay Lightning's Stamkos is playing hurt

TAMPA — There always are tell-tale signs players are hurt. In the case of Lightning C Steven Stamkos it was a precipitous drop in his recent faceoff efficiency.

Asked if he is hindered by something physical, the league's top goal scorer did not deny he was hurt, though he said the injury is "nothing major" and should not prevent him from playing.

"You get banged up," he said Monday. "I missed a couple of practices there. There are bumps and bruises during the season that sometimes hinder you in certain areas of the game.

"It's one of those things you go through every year, especially playing as much as we have."

With C Vinny Lecavalier out with a fractured hand, Stamkos is, as coach Guy Boucher likes to say, sleeping on the ice, playing fewer than 23 minutes only twice in his past 10 games.

Stamkos' faceoff woes go back further. In 13 previous games entering Monday he won just 98 of 230 draws (42.6 percent). Against the Blues Saturday, he won 6 of 19 (31.6 percent).

Stamkos did better Monday against the Sabres, winning 11 of 22. Still, the overall has been a notable difference from the 46 percent he previously won.

Neither Stamkos, who in his four-year career never has missed a game because of injury, nor Boucher would be specific about what Stamkos is nursing.

"Sometimes there are physical things which keep you from being at your best," Boucher said. "He's a fighter. If something is bothering him, he would want to fight through the pain."

MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: Eight regulars are sidelined because of injury (one off the season high from January) with the latest being W Ryan Shannon and RW Adam Hall, both of whom sustained upper-body injuries against the Blues.

Shannon could be out "a long while," Boucher said and added he is waiting for test results for more specifics. Of Hall, the team's top faceoff man, Boucher indicated it might be serious.

"I have a choice," Boucher said of the injury bug, "either I start crying, which I feel like, or I just look at it as ridiculous."

GOALIE SIGNED: G Sebastien Caron from Iserlohn of the German elite league, was signed to a prorated one-year, one-way contract. Because he is coming from Europe, Caron must clear waivers before joining the team. We will know at noon today.

Caron, 31, who from 2002-07 played 92 NHL games (90 for the Penguins) will get practices to get re-acclimated to NHL shooters before he plays a game, Boucher said. Once that happens, the plan is to re-assign G Dustin Tokarski to AHL Norfolk.

MINOR MOVE: The Lightning signed prospect Alex Killorn to a two-year deal beginning next season. Norfolk signed the forward to an amateur tryout contract for this season.

Killorn, 22, drafted 107th overall in 2007, led Harvard with 23 goals and 69 points in 34 games, was a first-team ECAC selection and a nominee for the Hobey Baker Award.

ODDS AND ENDS: RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie was recalled from Norfolk. … RW Brandon Segal was in the lineup after seven games as a healthy scratch. … Shannon, Hall, G Mathieu Garon (groin), F Nate Thompson (upper body) and D Mike Commodore were the official scratches.

Faceoff falloff an indicator Tampa Bay Lightning's Stamkos is playing hurt 03/19/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 12:21am]
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