Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher provided a quick, though not promising update on the status of defenseman Pavel Kubina, who did not make the trip with the team to Boston for Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference final. And if Boucher's dour assessment is correct, there certainly are questions of whether we will see Kubina again in the post season.
"He's not with us. He's not even here, so the update is not very good," Boucher said. "Every day there seems to be a little progression, it kind of slips back a bit."
Kubina was hurt on April 29 in Game 1 of the Easter semifinal with the Capitals. Kubina took an elbow to the back of the head from Washington's Jason Chimera, and then Kubina's head bounced off the glass. He has not skated since, as far as has been revealed and is believed suffering from concussion-like symptoms, though Tampa bay continues to call it simply an upper-body injury.
"We had to adapt because he was doing very well for us," Boucher said of Kubina who had two goals, three points and was plus-2 in eight games while averaging 15:17 of ice time.
In his absence, Eric Brewer has stepped up his ice time and is averaging a team-high 26:03 (4:29 more than the regular season). Victor Hedman is next at 21:58 (58 seconds) and Mattias Ohlund is getting 20:39 (1:56 more). Marc-Andre Bergeron also has gotten more power-play time.
There is no timetable for Kubina, either.
"It's the kind of injury you never know," Boucher said. "You wake up the next day and everything is great or just keeps going the same way, so it's very hard to monitor what's going on with him. He's got size. he's got some offensive abilities on our second power play,. He made a big difference on it."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Only an optional this morning for the Lightning with eight skaters and both goalies taking part. ... Much more interesting was the Bruins skate in which concussed center Patric Bergeron participated and looked good. Boston coach Claude Julien did not say whether Bergeron would play in tonight's Game 2, but he did say to watch warm-ups. "If he's in, you're going to see him in warm-ups tonight," Julien said. Getting back Bergeron seems as if it would be a blessing for the Bruins as he leads the team with 12 points on two goals and 10 assists and wins 64 percent of his faceoffs. Without Bergeron in Game 1, Tampa Bay won 61 percent of draws. ... Bruins tough guy Milan Lucic did not skate after taking a puck off the foot during Monday's practice. But Julien said "there's no issue at all." in other words, Lucic will play. ... Thought this quote from Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle was pretty interesting. Kaberle has been under all kinds of pressure and scrutiny because of his lack of offense and his bad giveaway to Teddy Purcell that led to a goal in Game 1. But Kaberle, who is used to the media pressure from when he played in Toronto, said he welcomes the scrutiny. "Everybody would rather there be a lot of pressure than no pressure," Kaberle said. "Nobody would like it if you're in Florida and there's less pressure. This is the Stanley Cup playoffs. You have to be under the heat every day." Not sure if that was a shot at the Lightning, Panthers or both. ... Julien said he believes the Bruins' physical style "slipped a little bit," in the second and third periods of Game 1, and he expects his players to better finish their checks in Game 2. ... Just a reminder about tickets. Games 3, 4 and 6 at the St. Pete Times Forum are sold out, but there are team tickets that might go unused. If so, they will be released on the days of games, so check with the Times Forum box office and Ticketmaster.