Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning to replace fan's phone punched by J.T. Brown

TAMPA — Lightning forward J.T. Brown had little to say about the incident near the end of Monday's game in Nashville when he broke the cellphone of a Predators fan while leaving the ice.

"Just a heat-of-the-moment situation," Brown told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday. "We've reached out to the guy, and we're working on getting him a new phone as well. That's all there really is to say."

The fan, Brendan Johnson, was seated near the tunnel to the visiting dressing room. He heckled Brown as Brown headed off the ice after receiving a 10-minute misconduct penalty for his fight with Nashville D Ryan Ellis with less than 2 minutes remaining in the 3-1 loss.

Brown punched the iPhone out of Johnson's hand, cracking the screen. Johnson said he did not want to press charged but asked that the iPhone be replaced. The Lightning will also send Johnson an autographed Brown jersey.

"At the end of the day, we made it right," said Brown, who was scratched against the Flyers after the Lightning said he was day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

DEPTH TEST: The Lightning's depth has been tested the past week or so with knee surgery that will keep Steven Stamkos out until about March and upper-body injuries also to F Brian Boyle and D Anton Stralman that kept those two out of Wednesday's game.

"It's tough. You got to have depth," coach Jon Cooper said. "This happens every year, so you just got to weather the storm and move on. It's just a tough time, because we're playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. We need guys to step in with limited practice time and keep going here."

The Lightning is in a stretch in which it plays 12 games in 21 days with no more than one off day between games. That will further test its depth, forcing new line combinations and callups for players such as F Erik Condra and D Luke Witkowski.

Witkowski was recalled on the road trip that ended Monday. He played against the Flyers but was a healthy scratch at Nashville. Condra made his season debut Wednesday.

"We're dipping into that (depth) right now," Cooper said. "Hopefully we'll get some of those guys back soon."

Boyle was scratched for the second time in three games. Stralman missed his sixth straight game. Boyle did not participate in the morning skate. Stralman skated with the team but wore a red noncontact jersey.

"(Boyle is) a big part of this team's success," D Victor Hedman said. "We got to make sure we replace his minutes and his big presence out there on the ice. He's the biggest guy on the team (6 feet 6, 244 pounds), so it's pretty tough."

NUTS AND BOLTS: Condra was called up for Monday's game but was a healthy scratch. He was then sent back to AHL Syracuse on Tuesday only to be recalled Wednesday. He did not return to Syracuse, remaining in the Tampa area instead.

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