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Alex Volkov earns first callup with the Lightning

Tampa Bay puts Victor Hedman and Pat Maroon on IR, and recalls Cory Conacher and Luke Schenn.
Tampa Bay Lightning foreword Alexander Volkov (79) looks on during drills on the first day on the ice at the beginning of training camp at the Ice Sports Forum on September 13, 2019 in Brandon, FL. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published Oct. 30
Updated Oct. 31

NEWARK, N.J. — Alex Volkov was in bed when his phone rang around 11 p.m. Tuesday. But there’s no such thing as a bad time for a call from the Lightning’s general manager.

Julien BriseBois told the forward he had earned his first NHL callup and would make his debut Wednesday against the Devils.

Volkov didn’t have a point and was minus-2 in 12:49 of ice time in the 7-6 overtime win.

MORE LIGHTNING: They've been struggling to find their feet and now the Lightning are dealing with a rash of injuries

The Lightning had gone into Tuesday’s game against the Rangers without forward Anthony Cirelli (upper body) and then lost defenseman Victor Hedman and forward Pat Maroon in the first period. That left them out of forwards.

Hedman (lower body) and Maroon (upper body) were placed on injured reserve Wednesday, and Cirelli was a game-time decision, coach Jon Cooper said before the game.

Cirelli did play and had a goal and an assist.

Hedman and Maroon aren’t eligible to play for seven days because they’re on injured reserve. The Lightning play the Islanders on Friday, then have six days off before their games against the Sabres in Sweden. That means Hedman and Maroon could return for those games. Cooper said Hedman’s injury is “hopefully not” a long-term concern.

“Sweden’s coming up,” Cooper said. “We want to make sure (Hedman is) ready for Sweden. He’s out (Wednesday). After that, I can’t tell you for sure.”

Recalled from AHL Syracuse along with Volkov for Wednesday’s game were forward Cory Conacher and defenseman Luke Schenn. Schenn played along with Volkov.

“You’re always excited for guys when they’re going to make their debut,” Cooper said. “(Volkov) was really responsible in camp. It was unfortunate he got hurt, and that set him back.”

Volkov was excited for the opportunity. He was adamant that he was prepared for the NHL in training camp, having focused on improving his defensive responsibility. But he got hurt in his final preseason game and missed the start of the AHL season.

“I felt ready, but I got hurt,” he said. “Now I’m healthy and played three games, and I feel good.”

Volkov called his father in Moscow, where it was about 6 a.m., when he got off the phone with BriseBois. His parents watched him in his first NHL game, which started at 2 a.m. their time.

Contact Diana C. Nearhos at dnearhos@tampabay.com. Follow @dianacnearhos.

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