Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Steve Downie returns for Tampa Bay Lightning

TAMPA — RW Steve Downie returned to the lineup Friday night against the Hurricanes, giving the Lightning a much-needed boost.

Downie, a top-six forward who had missed nine games with knee and high-ankle problems on his right leg, said it was difficult being sidelined with his team struggling.

"I don't like sitting out, and I think everyone knows that," he said. "It's probably the toughest thing in hockey for me, to sit out and watch the team go play hard teams. It's painful. But hopefully it's the best for my ankle and come down the stretch I'll be ready to go."

Downie said the ankle, which had also bothered him earlier this season, feels stronger and "more powerful." He did a lot of work in the pool and on the treadmill and exercise bike, but he said there's no replacement for skating.

Considering he resumed practicing just this week, coach Guy Boucher said Downie wouldn't be at his best and would have to manage his ice time Friday. Downie played 12:25, had one shot and was charged with a 10-minute misconduct penalty midway through the third period.

"It comes down to doing the little things right and keeping it simple as much as possible," Downie said.

Boucher was looking forward to having Downie back for what the forward brings in board battles and how he complements a line with C Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis. "He brings energy, he brings drive, physicality," Boucher said. "And he makes that Stamkos and St. Louis line click a lot more. And that's a lot."

The Lightning should get back another top-six forward, W Ryan Malone (mid-body injury), next week. Boucher said Malone is "perfect to go" but needs more conditioning.

MEDICAL MATTERS: The Lightning got encouraging news on D Randy Jones (high left ankle sprain). Boucher said his recovery is a week ahead of schedule, meaning there's a chance he could be back before the playoffs. Jones' original rehabilitation timetable was four to six weeks, which would have brought him back April 11. But he got on the ice Friday.

"He was one of our top guys," Boucher said. "Jones was playing against the first lines before he got injured. When you lose a guy that plays against first lines, you obviously lose a lot."

MILESTONE WATCH: RW Adam Hall played in his 500th career game, but he said what will mean more is if he plays a lot more in the playoffs.

"It's nice to have something like this when you take a second and take a step back and appreciate it," Hall said. "A lot of things are more important to me than this, like making the playoffs. We've got a lot of exciting moments coming up that I'm looking forward to."

odds and ends: C Mattias Ritola was scratched due to a lower-body injury. D Matt Smaby and D Marc-Andre Bergeron were also scratched. Tampa Bay went with 12 forwards.

Joe Smith can be reached at

Steve Downie returns for Tampa Bay Lightning 03/25/11 [Last modified: Saturday, March 26, 2011 12:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. James Wilder Jr. back at running Canada


    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  2. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  3. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  4. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108