ESTERO — It sounds like whomever the Lightning picks to be the temporary backup goaltender might not be needed very long.
That's because Andrei Vasilevskiy, 21, is encouraged in his recovery from early-September vascular surgery, hoping to return to practice in a couple weeks and the NHL by the end of October.
"I'm feeling great," he said. "Almost ready to go."
Vasilevskiy was expected to miss 2-3 months after surgery to remove a blood clot from his left collarbone area Sept. 3. But Vasilevskiy has progressed into doing on-ice workouts with goalie coach Frantz Jean, simulating movements and facing controlled shots....
It sounds like whomever the Lightning picks to be the temporary backup goalie may not be needed very long.
That's because goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy is encouraged in his recovery from early-September vascular surgery, hopes to return to the NHL by the end of October. Vasilevskiy, who had surgery to remove a blood clot from his left collarbone Sept. 3, did an on-ice workout with with goalie coach Frantz Jean before Monday's practice, facing shots from close range....
While wing Alex Killorn returned to practice Monday, All-Star center Tyler Johnson remains sidelined with an undisclosed injury suffered Saturday against the Panthers.
Killorn, who also had an undisclosed injury Saturday, was on the ice at Germain Arena, along with fellow injured Lightning forwards Nikita Kucherov (lower body) and Cedric Paquette (left foot). Paquette was in his first full practice since getting hurt Sept. 26, though he did not participate in line rushes....
With the Lightning season opening up on Thursday, the Times decided to give readers an up-close look at what some of the players are like off the ice.
How good of a handyman is wing Ryan Callahan? What "Friends" star did Brian Boyle meet while in New York? Who was the "Big Bad Wolf" 'for Halloween? How did Tyler Johnson meet Wayne Gretzky, and how was dinner at the Great One's house? How exactly did Alex Killorn get into Harvard? What sparked Victor Hedman's passion for flying planes?...
10/04/15 Lightning Strikes
The Lightning got some encouraging news on the injury front Sunday, as All-Star center Tyler Johnson and wing Alex Killorn were considered day to day with undisclosed injuries, general manager Steve Yzerman said.
Both got hurt in Saturday's exhibition finale against the Panthers in Sunrise, with Johnson playing just two shifts in the second period before leaving. Killorn played a couple of shifts in the third period before exiting....
The Lightning got some encouraging news on the injury front Sunday, as All-Star center Tyler Johnson and wing Alex Killorn are both considered just day-to-day with undisclosed injuries, general manager Steve Yzerman said.
Both got hurt in Saturday's exhibition finale against the Panthers in Sunrise, with Johnson playing just two shifts in the second period before leaving. Killorn played only a couple shifts in the third period before exiting....
10/03/15 Lightning Strikes
SUNRISE — The Triplets were down to one Saturday night.
With RW Nikita Kucherov (lower-body injury) already sitting out as a precaution, the Lightning lost All-Star C Tyler Johnson to an undisclosed injury in the second period of a 3-2 come-from-behind win over the Panthers.
Also, LW Alex Killorn (undisclosed) left early in the third, forcing the Lightning, which started the game with 11 forwards, to play with nine....
Wing Nikita Kucherov was back at Saturday's morning skate, and plans to play tonight in the exhibition finale against the Panthers, which is an encouraging sign for the Lightning.
Kucherov had suffered a lower-body injury early in Thursday's 3-2 win over Dallas, briefly trying to test it before leaving the game for good. He said there's still some pain, but it shouldn't hold him back heading into the season....
10/02/15 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — Steven Stamkos was as good as gone.
There was a blockbuster deal set up with the Sabres after the NHL draft. Another one had the Lightning captain potentially heading to Calgary. But Stamkos wouldn't waive his no-move clause.
"You heard that?" Stamkos asked. "I've heard those same rumors."
Were they true? Of course not, Stamkos said, adding that he never even has been asked by the Lightning to waive his no-move clause, which kicked in after this year's draft for the final year of his contract. But such speculation is part of the Stamkos silly season that will continue until the day the 25-year-old superstar center signs a contract extension with the Lightning — or moves on....
10/02/15 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — C Jonathan Marchessault considered Thursday's exhibition against the Stars a big game for him, and his desperation showed in a team-high four shots.
With the Lightning planning to keep 13 forwards, Marchessault, 24, is fighting for a spot, though he will likely be the odd-man out, barring injuries.
If so, Marchessault would have to clear waivers to be sent down to AHL Syracuse, making for an uncertain situation....
10/01/15 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — RW Nikita Kucherov gave Lightning fans a thrill Thursday night in scoring on the game's first shift.
But then Kucherov gave Tampa Bay a scare when he left the game five minutes later with a lower-body injury after getting hit hard into the boards by Dallas LW Remi Elie.
Though Kucherov didn't return to the 3-2 Lightning win, coach Jon Cooper wasn't overly concerned, saying it shouldn't impact his availability for the Oct. 8 season opener....
Wing Nikita Kucherov gave Lightning fans a thrill Thursday night in scoring on the game's first shift.
But then Kucherov gave Tampa Bay a scare when he left the game five minutes later after getting hit hard into the boards by Dallas LW Remi Elie. Kucherov would not return, with the Lightning saying he suffered a lower-body injury.
After the hit, Kucherov was attended to by head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan before skating off under his own power. Soon Kucherov headed for the dressing room. Kucherov would come back midway through the period for a brief skate during a timeout, presumably to test the injury. But he must not have liked how he felt, going back to the room. It's hard to tell if Kucherov got hurt during hte hit, or on his goal, when he collided with goalie Kari Lehtonen....
10/01/15 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — With six days until opening night, the Lightning's backup goalie situation is still a mystery.
And it might not be clear until after the regular season opens Oct. 8 against the Flyers.
Kristers Gudlevskis, 23, and Kevin Poulin, 25, the latter claimed off waivers Sunday from the Islanders, are the remaining in-house candidates to temporarily fill in for Andrei Vasilevskiy, who will miss at least the first month after vascular surgery. There's not much more time for Gudlevskis and Poulin to audition. Starter Ben Bishop played against the Stars on Thursday and was slated to get action in the final exhibition game, Saturday against the Panthers in Sunrise....
With just one week until opening night, the Lightning's backup goalie situation is still a mystery.
And it might be even after the Oct. 8 season opener against the Flyers.
Goalies Kristers Gudlevskis and Kevin Poulin, claimed off waivers Sunday from the Islanders, are the two remaining in-house candidates. But with starter Ben Bishop playing half the game tonight and the full game Saturday, neither will get much more of an opportunity to audition much....
Lightning forward Cedric Paquette briefly returned to the ice after Thursday's skate.
Paquette is still feeling some pain from the blocked shot he took off his left foot in Saturday's game, an injury that caused a cut that required five stitches. But Paquette hopes to return to practice in a couple days and isn't worried this will impact his availability to open the season.
"I think next week it should be 100-percent," he said....