Thursday, September 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Kucherov day-to-day; progress for Callahan

CALGARY, Alberta — It appeared encouraging Wednesday when RW Nikita Kucherov and RW Ryan Callahan participated in the Lightning's optional morning skate at the Saddledome.

But neither played in the late game against the Flames. F Cory Conacher had been recalled from AHL Syracuse as insurance in case Kucherov couldn't go, and he started.

Kucherov left Tuesday's practice early with an undisclosed injury. The Lightning said Wednesday he has a lower-body injury and is day-to-day. He skated mostly on his own Wednesday, looking limited while working on his turns.

For Callahan, it was his first team skate since Dec. 7. He has missed seven straight games because his surgically repaired hip had been bothering him. The Lightning has been cautious with Callahan, not wanting the issue to become long term.

"We're taking our time with 'Cally,' " Bowness said.

Callahan looked good Wednesday, skating powerfully with no limitations. "It's progressing," he said.

Callahan was sidelined five months after the June procedure, making his season debut Oct. 30 against the Rangers. So it was disappointing for him to have to sit again. He said he wasn't told definitively whether the hip could become an issue again. "Obviously it's a little frustrating, coming back, feeling good and then being out again," he said.

HOMECOMING: Rookie F Brayden Point, who grew up in Calgary, was excited to play in front of 50 family and friends. "It's pretty cool," he said.

Point, who played for the junior Flames as an 11-year-old, didn't grow up a Flames fan. His favorite player was Markus Naslund, who played for the Canucks. A poster of Naslund remained on the wall of his childhood bedroom until recently.

Point said he'd go to one Flames home game a year as a kid, and he played in the Saddledome while in juniors for the Moose Jaw Warriors.

ROSTER SHUFFLE: In a weird flurry of moves, D Luke Witkowski was reassigned to Syracuse on Wednesday morning and recalled in the afternoon. He and D Nikita Nesterov were scratched. RW Erik Condra, who had been recalled Monday and participated in Wednesday's morning skate, was reassigned to Syracuse.

NUTS AND BOLTS: D Victor Hedman played in his 500th NHL game, all with the Lightning. … Tampa Bay 2016 first-round draft pick C Brett Howden was cut Tuesday from Canada's World Junior team camp.

Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

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