Injury situation for Tampa Bay Lightning's Simon Gagne gets murkier

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The anticipated return to the lineup of injured LW Simon Gagne might be on hold. Or it might not.

Exactly what is bothering Gagne is unclear, though Lightning coach Guy Boucher described it as forehead or sinus pressure. Whatever it is, it stopped Gagne, out 14 games with a neck strain, from joining the team Saturday against the Sabres, and he might not be ready for Monday's game with the Bruins.

"No clue," Boucher said when asked about the problem. "They're still looking into it."

D Matt Smaby was put on injured reserve with a right ankle sprain, and D Randy Jones played despite a foot injury. But it is Gagne's situation that is puzzling and frustrating for a team also without captain Vinny Lecavalier (knuckle) and desperate to take scoring pressure off C Steven Stamkos and LW Marty St. Louis.

Gagne has been skating on his own and looked so well in Tuesday's practice, speculation was he would play at Buffalo.

"In terms of energy, in terms of being ready physically, everything right now is looking great," Boucher said of Gagne. "Not good, great."

He's just not ready to play.

REST STOP: Smaby has played three of 11 games since he hurt his ankle playing soccer with teammates before an Oct. 30 game with the Coyotes. He said the ankle has not hindered him, but "there has been no healing going on." So, though Smaby's IR stint is retroactive to Nov. 12 and he's eligible to be reinstated, he said he will be out a week, "and we'll go from there."

MORE STAMKOS PRAISE: Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman compared Stamkos to greats Mike Bossy and Guy Lafleur. "They were the two players who caught my eye the way Stamkos plays," Bowman said. "Bossy could put the puck in the net and thread the needle, and so could Lafleur. That's the way Stamkos is."

It's been quite a few days for Stamkos. With 19 goals in his first 20 games, a 50-in-50 watch has begun, and Sports Illustrated writer Mike Farber has shadowed him for two days.

How does he stay grounded?

"For the most part, you hear about it, and it goes out the other ear," Stamkos said. "Just because you had a good first 20 games of the season doesn't mean you're going to be the best player in the world. It's about working into the team system and buying in, and I think I've been able to do that."

NO JUSTICE: Supplemental discipline was not given by the league to Flyers D Andrej Meszaros for a check Thursday to the right knee of LW Dana Tyrell. Meszaros received two minutes for clipping.

"It's a dirty hit," said Tyrell, who had surgery on the knee in January 2009. "I just hope I never get hit like that again."

ODDS AND ENDS: C Blair Jones and D Mike Vernace are up from AHL Norfolk. … LW Johan Harju, whose ice time fell in three of four games since a callup from Norfolk, was scratched. … LW Mattias Ritola finished a two-game suspension for his hit Wednesday on the Islanders' Matt Moulson. … D Matt Roy was scratched. … Tampa Bay entered Saturday 0-3-0 and outscored 16-3 in the last game of multigame road trips. ... D Pavel Kubina got his 250th career assist and first point since Oct. 27.

Injury situation for Tampa Bay Lightning's Simon Gagne gets murkier 11/20/10 [Last modified: Sunday, November 21, 2010 12:15am]

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