Ruslan Fedotenko spent a lot of time during the preseason strengthening his surgically repaired left hip.
But with games coming fast and furious during the regular season, the Lightning wing said, his workout program has been inconsistent and his lower body lost strength, leading to fatigue.
It is not an excuse, Fedotenko said. But it is part of the dynamic contributing to a streak in which he has no goals in 12 straight games and only one in 16.
His assist Thursday, earned while taking a huge hit, was his first point in 11 games.
"I'm trying to work hard in practice and off the ice to get back to it right away," he said. "It's hard to do when you have a game every other day."
Fedotenko has continued playing high-level defense.
A good thing because, as he said, "If you don't score and don't play on defense, I don't think you will be playing."
To perhaps give Fedotenko a jump-start, coach John Tortorella paired him with center Vinny Lecavalier.
"Everybody talks about the big names that are usually the focus of our team, but he's a main piece of our offense," Tortorella said. "We need to get more balanced in our scoring, and he's a big part of that."
At this time last season, Fedotenko had the same six goals and ended with a career-high 26.
"I'm not worried about it," he said. "It just better be sooner than later."
WILL ROY RETURN?: Like Andre Roy? Then keep an eye on this the next few days.
The former Lightning tough guy cleared waivers Thursday and was assigned to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton by the Penguins. If Pittsburgh tries to recall him, the left wing must clear re-entry waivers.
A team that claims him would have to pick up half his prorated $1-million salary. Pittsburgh would be responsible for the rest.
With the $478,000 Tampa Bay saved putting Rob DiMaio on long-term disability, and with Thursday's reassignment of center Blair Jones to AHL Springfield, the Lightning is $911,000 below the $44-million cap.
The locker room misses Roy's spirit, Tortorella has said. On Tampa Bay's most recent trip to Pittsburgh, Roy spent significant time visiting his former teammates.
ODDS AND ENDS: Head scout Jake Goertzen said Riku Helenius, the Lightning's top draft pick out after shoulder surgery, should be able to play in February for Ilves Tampere of Finland's elite league. ... Center Andreas Karlsson and defenseman Luke Richardson were scratched.
Damian Cristodero can be reached at (727) 893-8622 or email@example.com.