Lightning wing Ryan Callahan was playing through an undisclosed lower body injury late in the season and throughout the playoffs.
Now we know how serious it was.
The Lightning announced Callahan, 31, had surgery Tuesday to repair a labral tear in his right hip, which will sideline him five months and force him to miss September's World Cup and the first month of the season, which begins Oct. 13.
Callahan's surgery was performed in New York by Dr. Bryan Kelly.
Agent Steve Bartlett said the hip injury nagged Callahan for a good part of the second half of the season. Callahan missed the final three regular-season games and sat out some practices during the playoffs. He missed one playoff game with the flu.
Callahan considered trying rehab before settling on surgery, not wanting to risk the chance of missing more of the season, Bartlett said. Callahan was scheduled to participate in the World Cup with Team USA. The tournament starts in mid September in Toronto.
"These are all part of the tough decisions you make," Bartlett said. "Cally has a ton of pride and I think the worst thing for him is feeling like he's not 100 percent. By making this decision, knowing him, I don't think he'll miss a whole lot of the season, which is first and foremost to him, Tampa and his teammates. The World Cup is nice. The real NHL schedule is his priority. …
"Rather miss the first month of the season than the last month."
Callahan, who signed a six-year, $34.8 million deal in the summer of 2014, played 73 games for the Lightning last season, with 10 goals and 28 points. He had two goals and four points in 16 playoff games. As an alternate captain, he's also one of the team's biggest leaders.
"He can change the momentum of a game in one shift," center Brian Boyle has said. "It's a huge part of our team."
Callahan's injury shouldn't significantly impact the Lightning's offseason plans, though it'll open a roster spot to start the season.
"He's a hard worker and will not leave anything to chance in terms of rehab," Bartlett said. "I have no doubts when he steps back on the ice he'll be back to the Cally we know and love."
Lecavalier makes his retirement official
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Forward Vinny Lecavalier, who helped lead the Lightning to the 2004 Stanley Cup, formally retired Tuesday after 17 seasons.
When he joined the Kings in January, Lecavalier said the 2015-16 season would be his last. He confirmed his retirement intentions after Los Angeles was eliminated from the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in April.
Lecavalier, 36, spent his first 14 NHL seasons with the Lightning, including two stints as captain, and was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1998 draft. After Tampa Bay bought out his contract in 2013, he had a dispiriting 21/2-year stretch with Philadelphia, frequently sitting as a healthy scratch, before joining the Kings in a trade. Lecavalier profusely thanked the Lightning and Kings in his retirement announcement, but didn't mention the Flyers.
He won the Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL's top goal-scorer with 52 while racking up a career-high 108 points for Tampa Bay during the 2006-07 season. He's the all-time franchise leader in games (1,037), goals (383) and power-play goals (112).
Information from Times wires was used in this report. Contact Joe Smith at [email protected]. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.