Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning notebook

Halpern will return to Lightning later, not sooner

When Jeff Halpern had major surgery on his right knee in June, the window for his recovery was from the end of October to the end of December.

It is looking more and more as if the center won't be ready until the end of that estimate.

"It's a big injury," vice president of hockey operations Brian Lawton said. "There was a lot of atrophy."

Halpern, hurt playing for the United States at the World Championships, sustained a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, a partial rupture of the medial collateral ligament and a small tear to the lateral meniscus.

Halpern's agent, Mike Liut, said it makes sense that the Lightning is taking a long view.

"It's managing the expectations, which is the right way to be handling it," Liut said. "Why place expectations? If you miss them, then everybody is disappointed. If you say December and by the end of October he's back, everybody is happy."

Halpern, 32, had 10 goals and 18 points in 19 games after being acquired from the Stars in the Brad Richards deal. His absence makes the return of Ryan Craig from back and knee injuries and the re-signing of Chris Gratton that much more important.

Even free-agent signees Wyatt Smith and Adam Hall can fill in in a pinch.

"It's going to be a policy going forward that we're not going to rush people back," Lawton said. "The athletes come first. We've put some depth into the organization. We're just going to have to be able to fill in with a plan."

PRESEASON SCHEDULE: The first game is four days after the Sept. 16 start of training camp at Brandon's Ice Sports Forum. Sept. 20 — at Pittsburgh, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22 — Penguins at St. Pete Times Forum, 7:30. Sept. 23 — Rangers at St. Pete Times Forum, 7:30. Sept. 25 — at Rangers, 7. Sept. 28 — at Eisbaren Berlin, Germany, 10 a.m. EDT.

REGULAR SEASON: The home opener is Oct. 11 against Carolina. Tampa Bay's home-and-homes with the West are against the Avalanche, Wild and Sharks. The full schedule is out today.

IT'S THEIR TEAM: As veterans with more than 900 goals between them, Mark Recchi, 40, and Gary Roberts, 42, will command respect in the locker room. But Roberts said they will be careful not to step on toes.

"This is Vinny's team and Marty's team," he said of Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis. "We're just here to complement those guys. I'm just excited to be part of it. As an older guy, you come in and you do your job the way you've done it for 20 years. That's not going to change.

"At some point will I offer some advice, or Mark? Probably. But we're not going to walk in here and try to make changes. Whether you play 20 years or one year, you have to gain the respect of your teammates."

NOSE JOB: Wing Ryan Malone, acquired as a free agent from the Penguins, built a small legend last season by missing only a few minutes of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final after a shot broke his nose.

"I thought my face was dented in," Malone said. "Once I got into the locker room, I was asking the trainers how bad it was. … They said it wasn't too bad, and I could breathe, so I was like, 'Get me ready and I'll go back out there.' "

Malone said he did not consider sitting out despite difficulty breathing.

"You never know when you're going to get there," he said of the Cup final. "You want to make sure you leave it all out there. You don't want to leave anything in the tank, that's for sure."

ODDS AND ENDS: Lawton said assistant coaches Mike Sullivan and Jeff Reese are talking to other teams. … The medical and training staffs have been retained, as has video coach Nigel Kirwan.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Halpern will return to Lightning later, not sooner 07/16/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 10:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tiger Woods says medication, not alcohol, led to DUI arrest in Florida

    Public Safety

    Players arriving for a tournament this week at Muirfield Village might notice a framed picture of Tiger Woods with a resplendent smile and bright red shirt. He's posed there with the trophy, an image that embodies the excitement he once brought to golf.

    This image provided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office on Monday, May 29, 2017, shows Tiger Woods. Police in Florida say Tiger Woods was been arrested for DUI.  [Palm Beach County Sheriff's office via AP]
  2. Four key games that could decide Bucs' success in 2017


    The Bucs finished so close to making the playoffs in 2016 -- literally flip-flop the last two results and have them beat the Saints and lose to the Panthers and they're in as a wild card with the same 9-7 record -- that it's difficult to say with any certainty what will happen in the 2017 season.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, shown celebrating a touchdown against the Giants in 2015, will face New York again this fall in Week 4 in Tampa.
  3. Frank Deford wrote with sincerity, giving depth to complicated sports figures

    Human Interest

    Frank Deford practically invented the notion of multimedia: He exported his voice to radio, TV and film, and if you didn't know him you might have thought he was an actor, because he wore purple suits and looked like Clark Gable. But Frank, who died Sunday at age 78, was a writer above all things, and an important …

    In a 1991 photo, Frank Deford holds a proof of The National Sports Daily, of which he was editor and publisher [Associated Press]
  4. Clarity coming this week on Florida Gators, Malik Zaire


    After months of speculation, we could finally get some clarity this week on the Florida Gators and graduate transfer quarterback Malik Zaire.

    SEC flags outside the hotel of last year's spring meetings in Destin. This year's meetings could have a huge impact on the Florida Gators' season.
  5. Jose De Leon sent back to minors after helping Rays win


    RHP Jose De Leon worked 2 2/3 innings to get the win in his Rays debut Monday and then was optioned back to Triple-A Durham.

    De Leon was brought up to provide length and depth in the bullpen after the Rays played 15 innings on Sunday, and he did that, allowing three runs on four hits while throwing 69 …