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 relents, reveals severity of goalie Mike Smith's injury

Mike Smith has missed three games with post-concussion syndrome. It’s unclear when he’ll return.

Mike Smith has missed three games with post-concussion syndrome. It’s unclear when he’ll return.

TAMPA — The Lightning said in a release that Mike Smith is expected back on the ice "within the next week."

But the No. 1 goaltender, who already has missed 10 days of practice and three games, said there is no timetable for his return from an injury lingering longer than anticipated.

"No," Smith said Monday in his first interview since being sidelined. "(Trainer Tommy Mulligan) is saying it's just how you feel, and when you're ready to go, you're ready to go."

Smith has post-concussion syndrome, something the team previously declined to reveal, but relented, spokesman Bill Wickett said, to stop speculation when it became obvious Smith would not recover as quickly as hoped.

It was a much more sobering report than previous from general manager Brian Lawton, who twice predicted Smith's return to the lineup, including tonight against the Thrashers at the St. Pete Times Forum, only to see the goalie unable to practice.

"We were hopeful Mike Smith's symptoms would clear sooner, and they haven't," Lawton said in the release, "so we're taking a conservative approach with him, making sure he is 100 percent before he returns to the ice."

"I'd be the first one to be back in there if I was healthy," Smith said. "I hate to miss one game, let alone three or four. It's been over a week now and it hasn't gotten a whole lot better. It's been really frustrating."

The team said it is impossible to tell exactly when or how Smith was hurt. But Smith, 26, acknowledged experiencing symptoms for about six weeks.

After being pulled in the third period of a 6-1 loss to the Flyers on Jan. 30, Smith said he decided the injury was hampering his game and needed rest.

"I'd been playing with it for quite a while," he said. "It got to the point, am I helping the team by playing through it or am I making it worse? The last couple of games I felt were two of my worst games of the year. That's when I decided to make the call."

Smith struggled before that as well, going 3-3 in six games with a 3.59 goals-against average and an .880 save percentage.

The timing is difficult for the Lightning, which would prefer having its top goalie during a six-game home stand it probably must sweep to have even a remote chance at the playoffs.

That responsibility now falls to rookies Mike McKenna, who starts tonight, and Karri Ramo.

"Mike's been holding the fort," Smith said. "Hopefully, he can keep it going."

Still, Smith said, "It's been hard to watch, especially at this time of the season. It's crunch time. It's do or die. I want to be the guy to help the team out."

As for his recent disappearing act with reporters, he said, "I'm not one to run away from the media, but this has been difficult for me.

"The main thing is to get healthy, and when I come back to help the team win."

NOTES: Coach Rick Tocchet said defenseman Paul Ranger (upper body) is "iffy" for tonight's game. The team is trying to get defenseman Josef Melichar through re-entry waivers from AHL Norfolk. … Left wing Wade Brookbank also is on waivers to be sent to Norfolk.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at cristodero@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Lightning relents, reveals severity of goalie Mike Smith's injury 02/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 10, 2009 7:44am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.