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 captain could make one final appearance on the ice

BRANDON — Tim Taylor has a decision to make, one he knows could be emotional.

The Lightning captain, sidelined because of preseason hip surgery, could finish his 13-year NHL career on the ice during Tampa Bay's final game, April 5 at Atlanta.

Coach John Tortorella gave him the option.

"That would be nice," Taylor said Monday at the Ice Sports Forum. "To sit on the bench at the end of the game and to know, 'Okay, it's over now,' would be really nice."

"He deserves that type of respect," Tortorella said. "He's been a loyal guy to the organization and has done a lot of things on and off the ice that people don't even know about, so he deserves that right."

Taylor said he hasn't made a decision, that it has nothing to do with his health and everything to do with timing.

Taylor, 39, said he doesn't want to intrude on player evaluations the team is making for the future. And while he has skated since late January, Taylor has practiced fewer than 10 times.

"It's tough for anyone, especially someone my age, to come back after not playing at all," he said.

Perhaps, but it's not as if he would take a regular shift. And it's not as if the Lightning or Thrashers are fighting for the playoffs.

And as for any player's chance to finish his career on his own terms, teammate Marty St. Louis said, "It would be like the cherry on the cake."

Taylor's Sept. 6 surgery, called hip resurfacing, corrected his painful right-hip dysplasia by shaving and smoothing the head of the femur, topping it with a chrome alloy cap and fitting it into the hip socket that was coated.

Taylor is "ecstatic" at the results. He said he is golfing, playing racquetball and running 7 miles "at ease and without any pain.

"And I can play hockey at any level," the center said. "I'm totally convinced if I was 25, 26 years old, 30 years old, I could come back and play for sure."

If Taylor does not play against the Thrashers, the Stratford, Ontario, native will finish with 746 games, 73 goals, 167 points and Stanley Cups in 2004 with the Lightning and 1997 with the Red Wings.

Although overshadowed by Dave Andreychuk's huge persona, Taylor was an integral part of Tampa Bay's core leadership.

"He was never talked about," Tortorella said. "Andy was always the main focus. But Tales did a lot of good things in the same vein as far as getting the locker room straightened out."

"He left his mark," St. Louis said, "as one of the first true leaders who helped turn this franchise around."

He has left another with a popular call-in radio gig after home games. He said he would like to be a scout, and the Lightning has said it wants to keep him in the organization.

But does he want to play?

"I don't want to say yes. I don't want to say no," Taylor said. "Now I'm practicing every day. Maybe the last day of the season, maybe I get that itch."

NOTES: Center Jeff Halpern (abdominal strain) said he will decide today if he can play. & Defenseman Paul Ranger (left shoulder) is scheduled for an MRI exam. & Injured center Chris Gratton will join Sun Sports' Rick Peckham and Bobby Taylor during the second period of tonight's game with the Panthers. & Tampa Bay's final four home games, starting tonight, are Fan Appreciation Nights and feature players walking a red carpet to the stadium, starting about 4:30 p.m. Taylor and Andreychuk will be on the plaza stage from 6:45 to 7:15 for question and answers. Tonight's first 5,000 fans get Lightning car flags.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

>>Fast facts

Tim Taylor
career highlights

Most goals in season: 20,
1997-98 with Bruins

Most assists in season: 15, 2003-04 with Lightning

Career totals (13 seasons):
73 goals, 94 assists, 167 points, 433 penalty minutes

Stanley Cups: Two — 1996-97, Red Wings; 2003-04, Lightning

Lightning captain could make one final appearance on the ice 03/24/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 11:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Abominable Bucs Missing Their Chance


    Of course, they can still win the division.

    They can still make the playoffs.

    Another Sunday, another celebration for the other guys
  2. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  3. No more looking at Jim Harbaugh, but should we look at Notre Dame?


    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Overheard Sunday morning in a hotel elevator, among two Penn State fans: "Did you see Coach Harbaugh's interview? He looked shellshocked. One of those coaches with his job on the line."

    Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are falling out of the national conversation; Sunday they fell out of the AP rankings after a blowout loss to Penn State. [Detroit Free Press/TNS]
  4. NFL Week 7: What we learned


    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  5. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.