Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger could return from personal leave within the week

NEWARK, N.J. — Nothing is confirmed, but rumblings around the Lightning on Friday indicated that D Paul Ranger, away from the team for 11 weeks on personal leave, might be ready to return, perhaps within seven days.

As has been his policy on the matter, GM Brian Lawton declined to comment. Coach Rick Tocchet said he had not heard a timetable, but he was giddy about the chance to add a puck-moving defenseman.

"He's a top-four defenseman and going to play 25 minutes," Tocchet said. "It's like you've added a player in a trade without giving anybody up."

It is unclear whether Ranger is game ready, but as Tocchet said, "The one thing about Paul Ranger is he's always in great shape."

Ranger, 25, left the team Oct. 24 to deal with an undisclosed personal matter. Coming off a second straight summer in which he rehabilitated a surgically repaired shoulder, he had a goal and two points and was minus-2 in eight games.

Always good with the puck — then-Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella called him one of the league's best passers out of the defensive zone — Ranger in 2007-08, his last healthy season, had 10 goals and 31 points in 72 games.

"If he's ready to come back, it's a great thing," said D Kurtis Foster, Ranger's road roommate this season. "Hopefully he has things figured out. When he's at the top of his game, he can really help this team out."

Foster said he last communicated with Ranger around Christmas. "He said he was doing a lot better, and he was skating at the time," Foster said. "I asked if he was coming back, and he really didn't give me a straight answer."

Neither Ranger nor his agent could be reached for comment.

D Matt Smaby said he had not heard from Ranger.

"I think we're all kind of willing to wait for as long as it takes for him to get everything squared away," Smaby said. "But, yeah, he's a great player, and he'd be really valuable for this team."

MALONE HURT: LW Ryan Malone, second on the team with 19 goals, left Friday's game early in the second period when he fell and the back of his right thigh seemed to land on the tip of the skate of Devils G Martin Brodeur. No other information was available.

Meszaros benched: With three goals this season and zero points in nine games, and at a team-worst minus-13, D Andrej Meszaros was benched for what he said was the first time in his five-year career.

"It's tough," he said. "I'm disappointed. But on the other hand, I know I haven't played well. I just have to work hard in practice and … get my confidence back doing the right things in practice."

And in games, such as being in better position and making smarter decisions with the puck.

"He's put himself in this position," Tocchet said. "He hasn't played well. With him, we have to take a couple of steps back to get him to take a step forward. A night off, a good skate, watching and realizing we need more competitiveness and better focus."

Odds and ends: C Steven Stamkos' goal was his first in seven games. … RW Brandon Bochenski scored his first of the season. … With Meszaros out, Matt Walker was back in the lineup. … D David Hale was scratched. … C Jeff Halpern (lower body) said he could be ready for Tuesday's game with the Capitals, though Tocchet said Thursday against the Panthers might be more realistic. … LW Todd Fedoruk (right knee) skated for a second straight day.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger could return from personal leave within the week 01/08/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 9, 2010 12:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Matt Kuchar plays out of the bunker on the 18th hole and finishes with bogey for 1-under 69. He had a one-shot lead after 13 holes.
  2. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  3. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  4. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
  5. Rays claim not to be panicking after third straight brutal loss to Rangers (w/ video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — There was no "here we go again" moment in the dugout as Rougned Odor's two-run homer in the eighth inning arced across Tropicana Field and toward the rightfield seats, even though when it landed, the score was tied and another late-inning Rays lead was blown.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria heads back to the dugout after fouling out in the ninth inning with the potential tying run on first.