TAMPA — Three months after he tried to return from a torn quad muscle in the Stanley Cup final, Lightning center Brayden Point said Wednesday he feels good and has no pain entering training camp.
Point was injured in Game 7 of the opening-round series against the Maple Leafs. He missed 10 games before rejoining the lineup for Games 1 and 2 of the Cup final against the Avalanche, then didn’t play for the rest of the series, which the Avalanche won in six games.
General manager Julien BriseBois said at media day Wednesday that the Lightning consider Point “fully healthy.”
“It’s nice to be able to kind of skate how I want to again,” Point said.
It was a “bit of a long recovery process,” Point said. Once the playoffs ended June 26, he started to push himself about three or four weeks later. Pain lingered, but the blend of rest and recovery allowed it to recede by the one-month mark. That’s when Point started to get excited.
Point’s injury forced the Lightning to adapt without the league’s leading goal scorer in the 2020 and 2021 postseasons, in which he scored 14 goals in each during Tampa Bays’ run to back-to-back Cup wins. After a 2021-22 regular season in which Point played 66 games and had 28 goals and 30 assists, he appeared in nine of the Lightning’s 23 playoff games (two goals, three assists).
Looking back at Games 1 and 2 against the Avalanche, Point said, he couldn’t fully utilize his strength and speed. He assisted on Nick Paul’s goal in the series opener but generated only one shot attempt across the games.
“It was tough, and I think we made the right decision (to sit out the other games),” Point said. “I don’t think I was benefiting the team very much being out there.”
That makes this training camp, with practices starting today, a bit different for Point. As the Lightning assess options to replace departed defenseman Ryan McDonagh (trade) and forward Ondrej Palat (free agency), Point wants to get “that feel back.” He wants to sync his timing with game speed.
If he continues to progress, it’ll be a “big confidence boost,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ll have any problems,” Point said.
Other injury updates
The timelines for center Anthony Cirelli and defenseman Zach Bogosian remain the same as they recover from offseason shoulder surgery, BriseBois said. They’re expected to return about two months into the season. …. Left wing Grant Mismash was injured during last weekend’s prospect showcase and is day-to-day. He might not participate today, BriseBois said. Mismash was part of the return in the trade that sent McDonagh to the Predators in July.
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