Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning, other NHL teams feeling pain of injuries and condensed schedule

Steven Stamkos, Taylor Hall, Johnny Gaudreau and Jonathan Quick: The NHL's injured-reserve list could ice its own all-star lineup.

If it seems the league's top talent is sidelined a quarter into the season, you're not mistaken. No more is that aching trend apparent than in Buffalo, where five key Sabres players are out, including top centers Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly.

One concern raised is whether the NHL's condensed schedule might be contributing to the rash of injuries. Players have less downtime in a season that began a week later because of the World Cup of Hockey, and also has the league squeezing in its All-Star Game and a five-day bye week for teams in the second half of the season.

Stamkos, who played for Canada in the World Cup, torn a knee meniscus last week and after surgery is out about four months for the Lightning.

Some teams could use a schedule breather now.

"I think we have to look at the schedule," said Flames coach Glen Gulutzan, assessing the growing number of injuries. "As a coach, you're not sure what day it is half the time, if it's a game day or a non-game day. But it's a lot of games back to back. And it's a lot of games for the players."

The Flames, who will be without Gaudreau (broken finger) for six weeks, are in the midst of a six-game road swing covering nine days. It's hardly any easier in the East. The Devils, minus Hall (left knee) are playing 14 games — including 10 on the road — in 27 days this month.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly disputed the notion that the league's tightened schedule is leading to an increase in injuries.

"I certainly don't think there is sufficient evidence that would suggest, much less demonstrate, that there has been a larger number of injuries this year than in the average year, or, more importantly, that any of the injuries that have been suffered to this point in the season had anything to do with the schedule," Daly wrote in an email to the Associated Press.

In some cases that's true. Eichel sprained his left ankle in practice a day before Buffalo's season opener. Quick, the Kings' top goalie, hurt his groin in Los Angeles' season opener.

Without providing totals, Daly said the number of man-games lost through Nov. 8 was up by a little more than 8 percent over last year.

However, he noted, this year's total is either roughly the same or significantly less than five of the previous nine seasons. And this year's total is higher by more than 10 percent than only two of the past nine seasons.

Players Association spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon told the AP it is "too early to be drawing conclusions with respect to the number of injuries through this point of the season."

Daly cautioned against using man-game lost figures published in most teams' game notes because he called the numbers unreliable.

Based on the game notes alone, the Oilers lead the NHL with 100 man-games lost, followed by Dallas with 93.

Stars general manager Jim Nill believes the competitive playoff races and the tightened schedule are factors.

"I think we're all going to be within three and five wins of each other, the whole league, and that's going to be the difference between making the playoffs," Nill said. "The competitiveness, and then you add in the condensed schedule, the speed of the game — the game has never been faster — and I think all those are a combination for these injuries."

Comments
Four Lightning players named to The Hockey News’ list of the top 50 in the NHL

Four Lightning players named to The Hockey News’ list of the top 50 in the NHL

The Lightning has one of the biggest collections of talent in the NHL, according to one international hockey publication.Tampa Bay placed four players — second-most in the league — on The Hockey News' list of the top 50 players in th...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning to live stream six preseason games, starting Tuesday night

Lightning to live stream six preseason games, starting Tuesday night

TAMPA  — The Lightning will live stream six preseason games —starting with the 7:30 p.m. exhibition Tuesday against Carolina —at TampaBayLightning.com.The broadcasts are free and available only inside the Tampa Bay te...
Published: 09/17/18
Lightning’s Cal Foote may be the NHL’s most appropriately named player

Lightning’s Cal Foote may be the NHL’s most appropriately named player

TAMPA — No player on the Lightning's 61-man roster has a more fitting or appropriate name than defenseman Cal Foote.And it's not even close.Actually, good luck finding a last name on any NHL roster that fits better. Foote, Tampa Bay's first-rou...
Published: 09/17/18
Lightning journal: Center prospect Alex Barre-Boulet shows his scoring chops

Lightning journal: Center prospect Alex Barre-Boulet shows his scoring chops

BRANDON — C Alex Barre-Boulet did not want to try a complicated move. Not with Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy between him and the net.So Barre-Boulet went with old reliable as he drew close to the Lightning goalie."It is a move I use...
Published: 09/16/18
Lightning’s Jake Dotchin clears waivers

Lightning’s Jake Dotchin clears waivers

BRANDON— D Jake Dotchin cleared waivers Saturday, paving the way for the Lightning to terminate his contract for what it called a material breach.The team didn't give details when it announced its intentions Friday, but it is believed to h...
Published: 09/15/18
Trying to claim a Lightning roster spot? Let Brayden Point be your guide

Trying to claim a Lightning roster spot? Let Brayden Point be your guide

BRANDON — From the outside looking in, this year's Lightning training camp looks more like a tuneup than a tryout.There are not many new faces at the top end of the roster, which does not bode well for any young players hoping to make a squad t...
Published: 09/15/18
Lightning journal: D Jake Dotchin placed on unconditional waivers

Lightning journal: D Jake Dotchin placed on unconditional waivers

By NICK KELLYTimes Staff WriterBRANDON — D Jake Dotchin was placed on unconditional waivers Friday with the purpose of terminating his contract for a material breach, the Lightning said.The team disclosed no details but is believed to be unhapp...
Published: 09/14/18
Why the Lightning did not get Erik Karlsson

Why the Lightning did not get Erik Karlsson

BRANDON — Was the Lightning asleep at the wheel when superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson was traded from Ottawa to San Jose on Thursday?Did Steve Yzerman stepping aside as Lightning general manager distract the franchise from making a move on Ka...
Published: 09/14/18
Lightning journal: Familiar rehab territory for Ryan Callahan

Lightning journal: Familiar rehab territory for Ryan Callahan

By NICK KELLYTimes Staff WriterTAMPA — Whenever Lightning F Ryan Callahan needs encouragement while he rehabilitates a right shoulder injury, all he needs to do is look to his left.Four years ago, Callahan suffered a similar injury to his other...
Published: 09/13/18
Stanley Cup clock ticking for Steven Stamkos, Lightning

Stanley Cup clock ticking for Steven Stamkos, Lightning

TAMPA — Steven Stamkos had a quiet, uneventful summer."Which was a good thing, especially after the last couple of summers," the Lightning captain said Thursday as training camp opened.Stamkos wasn't rehabilitating a serious knee injury. He was...
Published: 09/13/18