Friday, January 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Steven Stamkos picks up skating pace

TAMPA — Watching C Steven Stamkos zip around the ice at Thursday's practice, it was hard to tell anything is wrong.

Though Stamkos, recovering from April 4 surgery to fix a blood clot in his collarbone area, was still in a red noncontact jersey, his skating seemed the same. On the ice with teammates for the third consecutive day, Stamkos participated in some drills and conditioning, and even took his trademark one-timers, albeit with not quite as much force.

"He looks like himself," LW Alex Killorn said. "He looks like the 'Stammer' we know."

There has been no change in Stamkos' recovery time line — it is still one to three months — the All-Star awaiting the moment he can get off blood thinner medication, which is preventing him from contact and game-like situations. But Stamkos said that once he gets the okay from doctors to stop taking blood thinners — no appointment for that is scheduled — he would need just a 12- to 24-hour period before being cleared for more intense work.

That's why the Lightning's leading scorer will continue to ramp up activities, though coach Jon Cooper said he expected to play the second-round playoff series against the Islanders that began Wednesday without Stamkos.

"It's just giving myself a chance if that time arises … and that visit to the doctor comes and they say, 'You're okay to resume play,' " Stamkos said. "It could be weeks. It could be months. That's the tough part about it."

It was also difficult for Stamkos to watch Wednesday's 5-3 loss in Game 1.

"You catch yourself thinking, 'What if I was out there, what if (D Anton Stralman, out with a broken leg) was out there?' " Stamkos said. "That's just the game of what-ifs in your head. That's the crappy part about it."

CONDRA OKAY: It didn't look good Wednesday when RW Erik Condra took a nasty fall into the boards early in the first period on a hit by Islanders C Casey Cizikas.

Condra looked dazed and had to be helped off the ice by a trainer and two teammates. He never returned to the game.

Cooper seemed encouraged Thursday about how Condra was feeling.

"That was a hit that looked really bad," Cooper said. "But he's doing a lot better than the actual hit looked."

Cooper didn't appear to have an issue with Cizikas' hit, which came near the Lightning red line as Condra was sending a pass up the ice. "A hockey play," Cooper said.

Cooper said he wasn't sure if Condra would skate in the next few days or be available for Saturday's Game 2. Tampa Bay may have a forward or two from the group of extra players called the "black aces" practice today.

"(Condra is) fine; he's in good spirits," Cooper said. "Just a tough one

MINOR MATTERS: The Lightning and AHL Syracuse announced a six-year affiliation extension. The two have been together since the 2012 season, with 36 players appearing with both teams in that time.

NUTS AND BOLTS: Fifteen players participated in the optional practice at Amalie Arena. The Lightning was scheduled to practice at 11 a.m. today at Brandon's Ice Sports Forum, the Islanders at 1:30 p.m.

Contact Joe Smith at [email protected] Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

Comments
Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

Fennelly: Lightning needs a reset on the road … pronto

TAMPA — Vegas has left the building.Weren't the Lightning just arranging place settings for next weekend's NHL All-Star Game party?With that in mind, I headed to the home dressing room at Amalie Arena late Thursday night after the Lightning was...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

Steven Stamkos: ‘I have to be a lot better’

There was plenty of blame to go around after the Lightning's 4-1 loss to the Golden Knights Thursday night.This loss wasn't on one person, no question.But captain Steven Stamkos showed some leadership by shouldering some responsibility for the team's...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising. After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had team...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

TAMPA — The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether those players are currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.For now, C Cory Conacher will try to t...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18

Joe Smith’s takeaways from Thursday’s Lightning-Golden Knights game

Thought the bye week was a much-needed break for Andrei Vasilevskiy. And though you can’t pin Thursday’s loss on the goalie, he still gave up at least four goals for the fourth straight start (19 overall). Tampa Bay is used to Vasilevskiy’s brillianc...
Published: 01/18/18
Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Jonathan Marchessault on Lightning: ‘It started here’

Life is good for Jonathan Marchessault.The former Lightning forward is thriving for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, which recently signed the undrafted forward to a six-year, $30 million deal. Marchessault's wife is expecting their third child, a...
Published: 01/18/18
Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

Lightning’s Cory Conacher hopes ‘simple’ leads to more ice time

The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether that player is currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.Center Cory Conacher, a healthy scratch in the Li...
Published: 01/18/18
‘Piratically speaking,’ NHL thrilled to don Gasparilla garb for All-Star Game

‘Piratically speaking,’ NHL thrilled to don Gasparilla garb for All-Star Game

TAMPA — Jose Gaspar, mythical pirate, meet Lord Stanley of Preston. Hang out, get to know one another, have as much fun as possible during the wrinkle in time that makes possible what will likely be a one-time-only encounter. Next weekend, th...
Published: 01/18/18
With Victor Hedman out, Lightning’s Slater Koekkoek finally gets chance to prove himself

With Victor Hedman out, Lightning’s Slater Koekkoek finally gets chance to prove himself

TAMPA — When it comes to replacing its top defenseman, the Lightning realizes that’s not possible."Let’s be honest," coach Jon Cooper said. "Nobody in that room is Victor Hedman."But with Hedman out three to six weeks with a lower-body injury, it mea...
Published: 01/17/18
Updated: 01/18/18
Vegas-Lightning, of all things, is the biggest show in town

Vegas-Lightning, of all things, is the biggest show in town

TAMPA — It's Vegas night.Who would have thought we would have been circling this one on the schedule before the NHL season began?Vegas Golden Knights and Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.We've circled it just the same.It's Vegas night.Any wa...
Published: 01/17/18