Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos vague on injury questions

TAMPA — Is he hurt?

That's the question that seems to be surrounding Lightning C Steven Stamkos these days. Stamkos did not take part in an optional practice Tuesday, nor did he skate in the optional morning skate Wednesday before Game 4 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal against the Penguins.

Stamkos, who rarely skipped optional workouts during the season, and W Ryan Malone, who has an upper-body injury, were the only players not to skate Wednesday morning. Stamkos said coach Guy Boucher told him to take the morning off. Boucher confirmed that.

Stamkos, whose only point in the series is a second assist in Game 3, said, "Everybody has got their bumps and bruises.''

When asked specifically about his health, Stamkos said, "Everything feels good.''

JUGGLING LINES: Boucher has constantly juggled lines throughout the series, often bouncing Stamkos from line to line while rarely rolling the same four lines.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said Thursday that the shuffling of the Lightning lines, as well as the double-shifting of W Marty St. Louis and C Vinny Lecavalier, has thrown off the Penguins.

"There are some difficulties that it presents for our team in matchups when they are rolling their lines like that and giving us different combinations,'' Bylsma said.

ST. LOUIS lady byng FINALIST: St. Louis was named as a finalist for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, given to player who best exemplifies sportsmanship. Stars F Loui Eriksson and Red Wings D Nicklas Lidstrom also were named finalists. This is the sixth time St. Louis has been a finalist for the Lady Byng. He won it last year. The award will be presented at the league's awards ceremony June 22 in Las Vegas.

ANOTHER SUSPENSION? Canadian TV network TSN hinted that Penguins F Tyler Kennedy should have been suspended for kicking Lightning D Eric Brewer during a scrum after the whistle in Game 4.

Replays appeared to show Kennedy kicking Brewer in the shin. Earlier in these playoffs, the Ducks' Bobby Ryan was suspended for two games for stomping on the foot of the Predators' Jonathon Blum. But it is believed the league looked at the Kennedy-Brewer incident and decided there would be no punishment.

MINOR MOVES: With RW Steve Downie back for Saturday's Game 5 after a one-game suspension for his Game 3 hit on Penguins D Ben Lovejoy and Malone apparently okay despite speculation about a shoulder injury, forwards Mattias Ritola and Blair Jones were reassigned to AHL Norfolk. … Top prospect Carter Ashton, whose junior season is over, also was reassigned to Norfolk, which is tied 2-2 with Penguins affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in their first-round playoff series.

MISCELLANY: Penguins F Chris Kunitz will return for Game 5 after being suspended one game for his Game 3 elbow to the head of F Simon Gagne. … The Lightning flies to Pittsburgh this morning and is scheduled to practice at the Penguins' suburban practice facility this afternoon.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos vague on injury questions 04/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, April 22, 2011 12:25am]

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