Advertisement
  1. Lightning

Tyler Johnson likely a go for Lightning opener (w/ video)

Tyler Johnson, celebrating last season, says an undisclosed injury from Saturday won’t linger.
Tyler Johnson, celebrating last season, says an undisclosed injury from Saturday won’t linger.
Published Oct. 8, 2015

TAMPA — C Tyler Johnson returned to practice Wednesday morning and is expected to play in tonight's season opener.

"I feel good," he said. "Ready to play."

Johnson suffered an undisclosed injury in the second period of Saturday's exhibition finale against the Panthers and did not practice Monday. Johnson declined to elaborate on the injury, indicating that it won't linger.

"Nothing is bothering me," he said with a smile.

The Lightning will be at full strength against the Flyers, with coach Jon Cooper saying LW Alex Killorn (undisclosed), RW Nikita Kucherov (lower body) are good to go. Cooper said conditioning is the only concern with C Cedric Paquette (left foot), who rotated in on the fourth line in Wednesday's skate. Paquette said he's feeling better each day but will have to deal with discomfort for the time being.

"It's a bad spot to get hit, I'll have some pain," he said. "But it's something I can play with."

MADE IT: G Kevin Poulin would have started this season with the Islanders' AHL affiliate Bridgeport had the Lightning not claimed him off waivers Sept. 27. So Poulin, 25, was happy that, after some uncertainty, he made the team as the temporary backup to G Ben Bishop.

"I really didn't know," Poulin said. "I didn't have a phone call (Tuesday), so I figured I was good."

ON CALL: While D Luke Witkowski and D Slater Koekkoek will start the season with AHL Syracuse, they impressed in camp and are expected to help the Lightning this season.

"They're close," GM Steve Yzerman said. "If we wanted to we could have kept them on this team. They're better off playing a lot of minutes in the American Hockey League."

PITCHING IN: Rays pitchers Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore skated in full gear with the Lightning after practice, gaining appreciation for the sport's difficulty. "It's probably a lot like golf," Moore said. "If you don't play hockey by the age of 25, don't start."

Joked Johnson: "I think they should probably stick to baseball."

Rays 3B Evan Longoria will serve as "Bolts Social (Media) Captain" for tonight's opener. Several Lightning players took batting practice at the Trop in June, with Rays RHP Alex Cobb also skating after practice last season.

"You just give them the same advice I give my 5-year-old," Cooper said. "Bend your legs, (butt) out, hope you don't fall."

WELCOME BACK: Tonight's opener is sold out, with a brief Eastern Conference banner unveiling before a 7:40 p.m. puck drop. The Prince of Wales Trophy will be on the plaza before the game. "It's going to be off the charts," C Steven Stamkos said.

NUTS AND BOLTS: Even with Stamkos opening the final season of his current deal without an extension, there is no set deadline for talks to be cut off. … Cooper said RW Ryan Callahan will wear a permanent "A" this season, with the other alternate captain likely rotating. … Former Lightning C Vinny Lecavalier and D Radko Gudas are expected to be healthy scratches for the Flyers tonight.

Contact Joe Smith at joesmith@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_JSmith.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Fans gather in Thunder Alley at Amalie Arena before the start of the 2019-2020 NHL season home opener between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers on Thursday, October 3, 2019, in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Bring a new, unwrapped toy to either (or both!) of the next two games
  2. Boston's David Pastrnak, left, and Washington's Alex Ovechkin were the NHL's top two goal-scorers through Tuesday's games. Both are coming to Tampa this week to face the Lightning at Amalie Arena.
    The Lightning face the NHL’s top two teams Thursday and Saturday
  3. The Lightning's Anthony Cirelli (71) and goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy, right, watch the puck as the Panthers' Noel Acciari (55) defends during the second period on Tuesday in Sunrise. [LUIS M. ALVAREZ  |  AP]
    Tampa Bay doesn’t make costly mistakes and pays attention to details on defense, just like the team has been talking about.
  4. In this file photo, Lightning associate coach Rick Bowness on the bench with his team during a game against the Detroit Red Wings.
    Dallas fired coach Jim Montgomery under odd circumstances and promoted Rick Bowness.
  5. Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) on the ice against the San Jose Sharks during second period action at Amalie Arena on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    The event will take place Feb. 7 and will benefit Moffitt Cancer Center
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney (35) gets beat on a short-handed breakaway goal by New York Islanders right wing Josh Bailey (12) during second-period action. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay allows another flurry of goals and can’t overcome the deficit in a 5-1 loss.
  7. A flurry of New York goals leaves Tampa Bay behind.
  8. Tampa Bay Lightning Mitchell Stephens (67), making his NHL debut, worse to control the puck against New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech (3) during first period action at Amalie Arena on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019 in Tampa. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tyler Johnson is out against the Islanders and likely to miss the Lightning’s ‘next couple games’
  9. The giant pipes reflect shades of blue as the glowing letters spelling Tampa Bay Lightning silhouette organist Krystof Srebrakowski and the pipe organ high above the rink. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Diana C. Nearhos | Carter Verhaeghe deserves more playing time. Hockey needs to address its culture issues seriously.
  10. DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) beats Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) to score shorthanded making the score 3 to 1 during third period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (12/06/18).  [SHADD, DIRK  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Tampa Bay plays four games in six nights against the Islanders, Panthers, Bruins and Capitals ... oh my
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement