Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Injury of Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith remains a mystery

Goaltender Mike Smith is expected to be on the ice today or Monday, general manager Brian Lawton said, and the expectation is he will play Tuesday against the Thrashers.

What is the mysterious upper-body injury that has kept the team's most valuable player out of three games and off the ice since Jan. 30? We still don't know.

What's the big secret?

"There is no mystery," Lawton said Saturday.

What there is is an NHL directive that allows teams in many circumstances not to disclose injury information. Teams have the option of disclosing as much as they want, but Lawton clearly believes the cryptic upper-body, lower-body stuff is enough.

"The original thought behind it was never wanting anyone to have a competitive advantage in the form of knowing a specific injury," he said. "That's all it centers around. We're protecting our players."

The problem is, following the guideline puts people such as coach Rick Tocchet, trainer Tommy Mulligan and the injured players in a tough spot.

They don't want to lie. So you get what we got last week:

• Lawton on Wednesday saying he believed Smith would be ready for Saturday's game with the Islanders but then no explanation why Smith is still sidelined.

• Smith on Friday using a curtain to camouflage himself so he could sneak out of the Ice Sports Forum without talking to reporters.

• Tocchet on Saturday saying he was first told of Smith's injury six weeks ago but that the team has yet to "pinpoint" the injury.

Even Mulligan said the injury is "a little bit" of a mystery. Really? After six weeks?

It must be especially difficult on Tocchet, who has to meet with reporters every day and tap-dance as he did Saturday when asked if there were concerns the injury could linger.

"I don't know. I really don't," he said. "I wish I could give you an answer. I really don't know."

Even if there wasn't a mystery, that kind of stuff created one.

Look, this is probably all very innocent when you get down to the bottom line. Lawton said Smith also preferred the team not talk about his injury, and if that is the case, it is good the team respected his wishes.

But that doesn't make it any less of a mystery.

Injury of Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith remains a mystery 02/07/09 [Last modified: Saturday, February 7, 2009 9:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Next up in Bucs renovations? A $20 million indoor practice facility

    Bucs

    Renderings of the Bucs' new indoor practice facility (Courtesy of the Bucs)
  2. Lightning re-signs Andrej Sustr to one-year, $1.95 million deal

    Blogs

    The Lightning locked up another piece of its blueline Monday, re-signing defenseman Andrej Sustr to a one-year, $1.95 million deal.

    Andrej Sustr 14 points in 80 games last season, a minus-10.
  3. John Calipari: Kevin Knox makes you shake your head and say 'Wow'

    Blogs

    Even though former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox left the USA Basketball U19 tryouts due to a hamstring injury, he still made quite an impression on coach John Calipari.

  4. How good is Florida Gators' Jim McElwain? We're about to find out

    College

    The Gators' offense comes down to how head coach Jim McElwain handles the quarterback battle between Zaire and redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks. [ANDRES LEIVA | Times]
  5. Officially official: Malik Zaire, Jake Fruhmorgen join Florida Gators

    Blogs

    It's finally, officially official: Malik Zaire has joined the Florida Gators.