Jon Cooper is taking the day off.
In media availability today, associate coach Rick Bowness fielded the questions in lieu of the usually diplomatic and tight-lipped Cooper.
Bowness filled in admirably, but was revealing in some of his answers to questions about the ongoing Ben Bishop injury situation:
Bowness on Bishop: "He's a great competitor, he knew he couldn't give 100 percent so he made (the decision). That's the right call."— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) June 11, 2015
He also referred to what's hindering Bishop specifically as an "injury", something neither Cooper nor Bishop himself has yet done.
It's not too difficult to read the tea leaves here and make assumptions about Bishop and the team's intentions here; Bishop was good enough to hobble through (and win) Game 3 at the United Center, and there's no reason to believe whatever injury Bishop is playing through got worse between Games 3 and 4. Instead, this appears to be a situation where the Lightning (and Bishop) are looking ahead now to an all-important Game 5.
The Stanley Cup Final becomes a three-game series with two of the three at Amalie Arena. The Lightning have now given Bishop a significant amount of extra time for rest, rehab, and treatment. The question is, will it be enough? Will Bishop be healthy enough to be effective in the biggest Tampa Bay Lightning game in over a decade?