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Lindback unsure when he'll return

Anders Lindback, making a save Feb. 19 against Toronto at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, has not played since facing the Maple Leafs on March 20 because of a high ankle sprain.

DIRK SHADD | Times

Anders Lindback, making a save Feb. 19 against Toronto at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, has not played since facing the Maple Leafs on March 20 because of a high ankle sprain.

WINNIPEG — Anders Lindback repeated after Tuesday's morning skate what he has said often about his high ankle sprain. It is improving, but he still has discomfort when he goes into his butterfly stance.

In other words, the Lightning goaltender is not sure when, or if, he will play again this season.

That would be disappointing for Lindback, out since sustaining the injury March 20 at Toronto and who has yet to play for new coach Jon Cooper.

"It's one of those things, I'm a young guy, I need games. I need to play and get experience," Lindback said. "I want to get in there. I want to prove myself."

It's not so much the amount of pain Lindback can endure, it's making sure he will not make the injury worse if he plays.

Even so, Lindback said he might push it to get in a game before the season ends April 27.

"I kind of want to," he said. "It's going to be a decision with me and the trainers. I'm really hoping it's getting better soon so I can come back and play."

"You never want to put somebody in a position where, mentally, they don't feel they're ready, so it's up to 'Lindy,' " Cooper said. "When he's ready he'll tell us."

Back To Work: C Nate Thompson went right to the front of the net during Tuesday's morning skate and faced Eric Brewer, who fired a slap shot.

Thompson didn't flinch.

It would not have been a surprise given that Saturday against the Capitals a Mike Green slap shot shattered his visor and caused an eight-stitch wound above his right eye.

"It's done and in the past," Thompson said. "I've been doing this my whole career, blocking shots, pucks going by my head."

Thompson sat out Sunday's game as a precaution, and Tuesday against the Jets had three hits, two blocked shots and fought Eric Tangradi.

"He's a tough kid," Cooper said. "He was kind of letting me know (Sunday) he was okay to play, but he wanted a little bit of time to relax and get his head straight."

"Those things don't happen very often," Thompson said. "So, go about your business as usual and get out there in front of those shots and block them."

More Injuries: F Tom Pyatt, who left Sunday's game after a hard check from Sabres D Mike Weber, is day-to-day with an upper body injury. … RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie played after missing two games with an upper-body injury.

Continuity: If a new contract can be worked out (and there doesn't seem to be reason it will not), goaltenders coach Frantz Jean will be back next season, GM Steve Yzerman said.

"He's extremely professional. He's very bright and represents our organization well," Yzerman said of Jean, hired in September 2010. "And I like his philosophy on goaltending. It's straightforward and fundamentally sound."

Yzerman already announced assistants Dan Lacroix and Steve Thomas will return. The future of assistant Marty Raymond, who was transferred to AHL Syracuse after coach Guy Boucher was fired, is unclear.

Odds And Ends: Thompson's fiancee, Cristin Stuart, is the sister of Jets D Mark Stuart. … C Steven Stamkos has goals in seven straight games against the Jets. … Pyatt was the only scratch.

Lindback unsure when he'll return 04/16/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 1:27am]
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