TAMPA — The encouraging news Sunday was that C Brian Boyle was considered day to day with an upper-body injury suffered on his first shift, when his head hit the boards and the ice after a huge check by Ottawa D Mark Borowiecki.
But considering Tampa Bay was already playing without five regulars — not to mention recent callup Yanni Gourde (upper body) — losing another forward two minutes into the 5-2 win was exasperating.
"You don't want to see anybody get hurt, but it's become the norm," coach Jon Cooper said.
The hit's aftermath looked ugly. It took a minute or so before Boyle could get on his feet as he was attended to by the team's medical staff.
Borowiecki's shoulder-to-chest hit wasn't dirty, but it got him a five-minute interference penalty and a game misconduct. Boyle skated off the ice and into the dressing room, where he likely went through the concussion-testing protocol. He didn't return, forcing the team to play with 10 forwards.
D Braydon Coburn came to Boyle's defense, starting a fight with Borowiecki.
Said Cooper: "You don't want to see a guy get hurt the way he was hit."
WHO'S LEFT? With AHL Syracuse down to nine forwards, there's not much room for another callup. LW Tanner Richard was recalled Sunday, though he did not play as Tampa Bay went with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
Though RW Erik Condra (lower body) returned for his first game since Dec. 5, facing his former team, RW J.T. Brown (upper body) was scratched, having apparently gotten hurt in Friday's 5-3 loss to the Capitals. He also was day to day.
C Cedric Paquette (upper body), C Tyler Johnson (undisclosed), LW Ondrej Palat (left ankle) and LW Jonathan Drouin (lower body) were not ready to return, though they're getting closer. At this point, Richard might get a chance to play Tuesday against the Canucks.
"That kid spent a couple years in the American League, and he's gotten better and better and better," Cooper said. "One thing I like about Tanner, he's feisty. He's got a little bite to him."
TRADE WINDS: GM Steve Yzerman was at the Blues game Thursday, and assistant GM Pat Verbeek attended their game Saturday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The scouting of St. Louis is interesting, especially considering the potential trade market. Yzerman said last week not to "sit around holding your breath waiting for us to make this big, giant move," but he also said he would look at ways to improve his team. The Blues have several right-shot defensemen, a need for Tampa Bay, which has only two.
NUTS AND BOLTS: G Ben Bishop started and improved to 8-0-3 against the Senators, one of his former teams. … D Matt Carle returned to the lineup after missing Friday's game due to the flu. … D Victor Hedman picked up his 200th career point with an assist. … Forward prospects Brayden Point and Mitchell Stephens were named to Canada's team for this month's world junior championship.