Lightning puts Malone on injured reserve

Published March 20, 2013

TORONTO — LW Ryan Malone is on injured reserve, and the Lightning is studying whether he needs surgery for a left shoulder injury sustained Monday against the Flyers.

"That's a blow," coach Guy Boucher said Wednesday.

The blow that injured Malone — a heavy third-period check by Philadelphia's Zac Rinaldo — was not penalized, and video scrutiny by the Lightning determined the hit was clean, with Malone's head being whiplashed by the force.

There has been no league discipline, either.

The hit still left a bad taste with Tampa Bay players. A Rinaldo hit in the second period knocked D Victor Hedman out of the game (as a precaution, Hedman said) with an upper-body injury. Rinaldo on Feb. 5 also punched B.J. Crombeen when Crombeen was on his knees and in a vulnerable position during their fight.

Crombeen said he asked Rinaldo to fight at the start of Monday's third period but Rinaldo declined.

"Obviously, when he's hurting guys, you want him to be accountable for his actions," Crombeen said. "There's always a time and place, and it will come. You just have to wait for it."

D Matt Carle, Rinaldo's teammate last season with the Flyers, understands the emotions the forward can stir.

"He's a physical player, and he's always going to be playing on the edge," Carle said of Rinaldo, who in 26 games this season has three goals, four points and 78 penalty minutes.

Still, Carle said, "He's one of those guys you hate to play against but love to have on your team. He makes the other team think. You know when he's out there. You have to be aware of him. He's effective like that."

At getting under an opponent's skin, too.

"He's actually a good hitter," said RW Pierre-Cedric Labrie, who tried to fight Rinaldo after the Flyer's encounter with Crombeen. "It's just sometimes he just doesn't think. At some point he has to pay for his bad behavior."

The regular-season series between the teams is over.

MORE INJURIES: Hedman played against Toronto and said his upper-body injury "is not a big issue." … LW Ben Pouliot (right shoulder), out nine games, might play this weekend, Boucher said. Pouliot said some movements still are "uncomfortable" but Wednesday's skate was "my best day."

PLAYING TIME: Under the radar against the Flyers was Carle getting 30:06 of ice time. It was the seventh time he played more than 30 minutes in an NHL game but the first in regulation.

"I slept pretty well the last couple of nights," he said. "Once you get into the flow of the game, your body takes over. You get caught up in the moment."

HOMECOMING: Cory Conacher, who grew up 25 miles south of Toronto in Burlington, Ontario, figured he had more than 100 family members and friends at the Air Canada Centre for his first game there as an NHL player.

"Very cool," said Conacher, but also "nerve-wracking."

C Steven Stamkos, another Toronto-area native, told Conacher to not lead teammates onto the ice for warmups. Stamkos, in his first game with Tampa Bay at the arena, accepted that honor. His teammates, as a joke, waited in the tunnel as Stamkos skated on his own until he realized what was going on.

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"I learned that one the hard way," he said.

SIGNED: D Slater Koekkoek, drafted 10th overall in June, signed a three-year entry-level deal. Koekkoek, 19, played 42 games this season for Peterborough and Windsor of the junior Ontario league before a second surgery in two years on a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

ODDS AND ENDS: Labrie took Malone's spot in the line. … Defensemen Brian Lee and Marc-Andre Bergeron were scratched.