Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Key evaluation time coming for Lightning's Callahan

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — The next few weeks could go a long way in determining whether wing Ryan Callahan plays again this season.

Callahan, 31, has been sidelined the past four weeks while rehabilitating his right hip, which continues to give him issues since June surgery. Callahan doesn't appear close to a return, as he hasn't rejoined team skates yet. He is expected to be re-evaluated during this week's five-day bye.

Callahan, who has been limited to 18 games, has three years remaining on his contract at a $5.8 million salary cap hit. So it could end up being in the best interests of Callahan and Tampa Bay for the forward to be shut down for the season if he isn't making enough progress in rehabilitation.

Time will tell.

Family matters

Wing Erik Condra has been the Lightning's yo-yo this season, getting recalled eight times from AHL Syracuse. The latest came Thursday. Condra, 30, arrived after midnight in St. Paul, Minn., before Friday's game with the Wild, after yet another flight, this time on American. "Name (the airline), I've flown them," Condra quipped Saturday. "Allegiant, Southwest, America. I'm a Delta guy, so I have all the perks."

Condra isn't complaining. He knows he gets paid good money ($1.5 million this season) to play a game he loves. And any day in the NHL is a good day. But it still has been a trying season, especially for his family, which remains in Tampa while he has been in Syracuse. The shuffling has taken its toll on Condra's two kids, son Callan, 21/2, and daughter Ellery, 10 months. "They say, 'It's Mommy's house' and 'Daddy's house,' " Condra said.

Condra credits his wife, Ryan, for holding everything together. "Without her, I don't think I'd be as sane as I am," he said.

Condra wonders about next season, the final year of his three-year deal with Tampa Bay. He still believes he can play in the NHL. It's just a matter of where. This year he has played 29 games in Syracuse, 12 with Tampa Bay.

"The toughest part," Condra said, "is sometimes you don't feel like you're part of any team."

Except that team waiting at home.

Quote of the day

"Mr. Ilitch will live on vividly in my mind and heart forever."

GM Steve Yzerman, who played his entire 22-season career in Detroit, on Friday's death of Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. For more, see tampabay.com/blogs/lightning.

Slap shots

• Give rookie center Brayden Point credit for adapting to the NHL. Four of his six goals have come off redirections, a skill he has worked on. "I didn't score very much like that in juniors," he said.

• Was it more surprising, or telling, that rookie defenseman Jake Dotchin was trusted on the ice in overtime in Friday's measuring-stick game in Minnesota?

Tyler Johnson (lower body) missed his second straight game Saturday in Arizona. Coach Jon Cooper said he wasn't sure if Johnson would be ready after this week's five-day bye.

 
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