TAMPA — When G Ben Bishop was injured on Sunday at Edmonton, it was so painful to hold his stick, the Lightning goaltender believed his right wrist be broken.
But an MRI exam on Wednesday showed the wrist is only sprained. And Bishop, who was put on injured reserve retroactive to Monday, is eligible to play next Monday at Columbus.
Whether he is ready to play is another story.
"The concern will end when he comes in and says, 'Coach, I'm ready to go,' " coach Jon Cooper said Thursday. "You just hope that he is ready to go. I'm not too worried yet."
Much might be learned today when Bishop will get on the ice to test the wrist.
"It's just one of those things," Bishop said. "You just have to wait and see how it feels."
Bishop has been a key player in the Lightning's resurgence and entered Thursday leading the league with a .935 save percentage and second with a 1.86 goals-against average.
Anders Lindback, who was expected to carry the bulk of the starting duties until Bishop heals, is 4-9-1 with a 3.18 goals-against average and a .877 save percentage. He has allowed six goals on his past 34 shots.
"You always look at numbers, too, and you look at wins, and I haven't won a lot of games," said Lindback, who allowed four goals on 20 shots in Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Capitals. "That's the thing I've been mostly upset with."
MEDICAL MATTERS: D Radko Gudas left the game after the first period with a lower-body injury.… RW J.T. Brown (shoulder) sat out a second straight game. … D Keith Aulie (hand) skated Thursday morning with a red no-contact jersey.
RAFALSKI WATCH: D Brian Rafalski, retired three years from the NHL, signed with ECHL Florida on Thursday.
That is worth keeping an eye on. The Lightning and Hurricanes share that affiliate, Rafalski played for the Red Wings when Lightning GM Steve Yzerman was a Detroit executive and Rafalski certainly would have had time to talk to Yzerman when they played in the Red Wings alumni game at last week's Winter Classic.
Yzerman, who would love to improve Tampa Bay's defensive depth, said through a team spokesman he knew nothing about Rafalski and there was nothing to talk about.
Perhaps that's true. Rafalski, 40, a three-time Stanley Cup winner, lives in the Fort Myers area and has worked as the team's chaplain. But Florida coach Greg Poss told the Fort Myers News-Press that Rafalski "wants to play in the NHL again."
HONORS: Head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan and equipment manager Ray Thill will be in Sochi, Russia, next month as part of the U.S. Olympic team. … Syracuse RW Brett Connolly was named to the AHL All-Star team. Coach Rob Zettler is an assistant coach for the team that will face Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League.
ODDS AND ENDS: LW Ondrej Palat has four goals, six assists in an eight game points streak that is the longest this season among league rookies and a franchise rookie record. … RW Marty St. Louis' assist gave him 953 career points to pass Rick Tocchet for 89th all time. … The Lightning played with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Capitals. … RW Richard Panik and D Andrej Sustr also were scratched.