02/25/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — When Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman brought the band back together last summer, he was celebrated.
Tampa Bay kept its core together for the third straight year and was labeled a Stanley Cup favorite.
But starting at Wednesday's trade deadline, you may begin seeing changes to a familiar roster. And we're not talking about just the possible departures of pending unrestricted free agents Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle....
02/24/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — You can sense a completely different vibe with the Lightning the past month.
It has a lot of jump and fight. (Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Flames was a frustrating anomaly.) Practices are filled with chatter. The swagger seems back, with players finally looking like they're having fun again.
A recent seven-game points streak will do that.
"It looks like the old Tampa," wing Alex Killorn said....
The Lightning has been looking for a puck-moving, right-shot defenseman for a long time.
Tampa Bay and the St. Louis Blues have been scouting each other since last year's Jonathan Drouin sweepstakes. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and Blues GM Doug Armstrong even watched Tampa Bay's game in L.A. together Jan. 17. They spoke again the next night in Anaheim.
So it shouldn't be a huge surprise that the two clubs were linked in an interesting report Thursday night that Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk nixed a potential deal to the Lightning six weeks ago. TSN's Bob McKenzie was first to report it, with Blues beat writer Jeremy Rutherford confirming that Shattenkirk turned down what would have been a seven-year, $42 million deal with Tampa Bay....
02/23/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — The decision to start Andrei Vasilevskiy over red-hot Ben Bishop in goal Thursday night will understandably be questioned and debated in Lightning land.
Bishop had won five straight. Vasilevskiy had won once in 2017.
But like several of Vasilevskiy's latest defeats, you can't blame him for a 3-2 buzzkill loss to the Flames in front of a subdued sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay, riding a season-long seven-game points streak, surprisingly was flat for a good portion of the game, mustering just 12 shots in the first two periods. ...
02/23/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin has had the flu the past few weeks, making what he has done on the ice all the more impressive.
But the illness finally caught up with him Thursday. He was scratched against the Flames. Drouin, who didn't practice Wednesday, was told by the team to stay home and rest, considering the Lightning's next game is Monday against Ottawa.
Concern for Callahan...
Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin has been battling the flu the past couple weeks, making what he's done on the ice all the more remarkable.
But coach Jon Cooper said Drouin will be a game-time decision tonight, having missed Wednesday's practice.
"We hope (he can play)," Cooper said.
With Drouin's status in doubt, forward Cory Conacher was recalled from AHL Syracuse for the second time in four days. Conacher skated this morning and is available. This is a big game for the Lightning, which is just four points out of the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay has pointed in seven straight games, a season-high....
02/22/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — Ryan Callahan's season is likely over.
But the good news for the Lightning wing is it doesn't sound like his nagging hip injury is career-threatening.
After having surgery in the offseason, Callahan, 31, had a followup procedure on his right hip Tuesday in New York, and general manager Steve Yzerman said he didn't expect Callahan back during the regular season.
If Tampa Bay makes the playoffs, a Callahan return could depend on how far the team advances....
Ryan Callahan's season could be over.
The veteran Lightning wing had a follow-up surgical procedure on his right hip Tuesday in New York, with GM Steve Yzerman saying Callahan is expected to miss the rest of the regular season.
The good news is that doctors found out what had been causing discomfort in Callahan's hip since it was surgically-repaired in June. Yzerman said the labrum remains in tact, and it's more of a scar tissue issue....
02/21/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — Ben Bishop may be the Lightning's biggest decision at next week's trade deadline.
You have the best goalie in franchise history playing his best hockey of the season. Bishop, 30, has won five straight starts, including Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the Oilers at Amalie Arena. Over that span, Bishop has allowed a combined six goals, helping Tampa Bay stay in striking distance of a playoff berth. ...
Still want to trade Ben Bishop?
The Lightning goaltender is playing some of his best hockey of the season. And, depending on how you look at it, the timing couldn't be any better.
With Tampa Bay fightning for its playoff life, Bishop has won his last four starts, including Sunday's 3-2 overtime victory in Colorado. The Lightning has won four of its last six, with all four victories started by Bishop, who has a 1.21 goals against average in that span.
So it should come as no surprise that Bishop is starting Tuesday against the Oilers. Coach Jon Cooper said the team's improved defensive play and Bishop's resurgence go hand in hand....
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is back on the ice.
Stamkos, out since mid-November knee surgery, has been skating on his own, including before Tuesday's morning skate. Stamkos was in full gear Tuesday, working with assistant coach Brad Lauer. Stamkos did stickhandling, shooting, even taking some one-timers.
GM Steve Yzerman said Stamkos is still on the 4-6 month timeline, but a return this season hasn't been ruled out....
02/20/17 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — The Lightning is rolling, picking up a point in six straight games, a season high.
Tampa Bay entered Monday just five points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
And that certainly complicates things for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman heading into the March 1 trade deadline.
That holds especially true when it comes to what to do with pending unrestricted free agents like Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle. It would also help to know if captain Steven Stamkos will play this season; Yzerman said Stamkos has done light skating and is progressing, but he's still on the four-to six-month recovery timeline from mid November knee surgery. ...
The Lightning is rolling, picking up a point in six straight games, a season-high.
Tampa Bay entered Monday just five points out of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
And that certainly complicates things for Lightning GM Steve Yzerman heading into the Mar. 1 trade deadline. That holds especially true when it comes to what to do with pending unrestricted free agents like Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle....
02/19/17 Lightning Strikes
DENVER — Jonathan Drouin's only overtime shift Sunday will be remembered for a while.
It was a dazzling 47 seconds, with the puck on the Lightning wing's stick for most of it.
"I was gassed," Drouin said.
Drouin was also determined. With the Lightning blowing a two-goal lead for the second straight night — this time with 41 seconds left — it desperately needed the second point. Drouin made sure of it, his slick steal-and-deke display on the winner lifting Tampa Bay to a 3-2 victory over the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center....
02/19/17 Lightning Strikes
DENVER — Raise your hand if you thought rookie D Jake Dotchin would be running the point on the power play at any point this season.
Didn't think so.
But there was Dotchin, 22, on Saturday against the Stars, getting key special teams shifts in just his 10th NHL game. But there's a reason for it: The Lightning likes Dotchin's shot — specifically, how he's able to get the puck to the net. An example was on Victor Hedman's goal Saturday when he pounced on a rebound of a Dotchin tipped shot....