Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Johnson returns; flu a concern

DALLAS — Just when the Lightning finally felt like it was getting healthy.

C Tyler Johnson returned to the lineup Saturday against the Stars after missing two games with a lower-body injury and had a goal and an assist in the 4-3 overtime loss. But wing Jonathan Drouin's status was in doubt until game time due to a flu bug. Cory Conacher was called up from AHL Syracuse as insurance.

The Lightning kept Drouin back at the hotel during the morning skate to avoid the illness affecting the rest of the team. Drouin played 16:01 in the game, but you wonder if the bug hasn't left the dressing room.

Vinny's back

When former captain Vinny Lecavalier participated in Saturday's alumni game against the Bruins at Amalie Arena, it was just the third time he had played hockey since he retired last summer. No rust showed. His hat trick led to an 18-14 win. Lecavalier, 36, still gets plenty of ice time, though, coaching his son, Gabriel, 5. "It's been the best," he said. "Sometimes I teach him things, I'm thinking he's not listening, but then he'll do it in a game two days later. So it's fun to see." Lecavalier is enjoying his retirement, from being a dad to Gabriel and daughters Victoria, 6, and Amelia, 4 next month, to hunting and fishing. He has no regrets. The next question is when will the Lightning retire his No. 4. My bet is that it happens next season. "Until they do, you never know," Lecavalier said. "It'll be a great honor."

Triplet talk

AHL Syracuse is going old-school. It is giving away Triplets bobbleheads (above) of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, who first became linemates with the Crunch, at three upcoming home games. "It's kind of cool," Johnson said. "I've had a couple (of bobbleheads) throughout the years. They're always so different. Not too many times you see a bobblehead really look like someone."

Worth watching

GM Steve Yzerman likes talking about himself as much as he enjoys losing. So it should be an interesting Inside the Lightning edition profiling Yzerman on Fox Sports Sun. The episode — which features interviews with his old Red Wings coach, Scotty Bowman, and GM, Ken Holland, as well as Vinny Lecavalier, among others — debuted Saturday. It re-airs Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Slap shots

> First, rookie D Jake Dotchin gets put into overtime 3-on-3. Now he's getting on the power play. Few Lightning players' stock has risen higher this season.

> Devils scout Peter Horachek was at the Lightning game again Saturday. Other reps in attendance were from the Bruins, Hurricanes, Blackhawks and Coyotes.

> Great to see Stars TV broadcaster Dave Strader back in the booth. Strader, who has cancer, was part of my childhood in Detroit; I listened to him and Mickey Redmond call Red Wings games.

Comments
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