Cory Conacher has been called up to the big club, the Lightning announced Friday.
His call-up is due to the absence of $14 million-dollar man Nikita Kucherov, who left Thursday’s game against the Canadiens after playing just 4:22 in the first period. After a fall against the boards, it appeared as if Kucherov’s shoulder took the brunt of the impact. He remained in the game, but did not return after intermission. The Lightning went on to lose 3-1.
Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times provided Kucherov’s status:
So it could have been a lot worse, #tblightning Nikita Kucherov (upper body) considered day to day. Unsure of status for Saturday vs Devils— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) October 28, 2016
Update: #TBLightning forward Nikita Kucherov has been listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) October 28, 2016
Smith also reported that Kucherov didn’t show any visible signs of an injury after the game. Smith wrote:
There was no noticeable limp, no brace tucked over his suit. Asked if he was okay, the 23-year-old Russian politely nodded.
It’s not like Conacher is going to literally take Kucherov’s spot in the lineup — the top line with Steven Stamkos and Vlad Namestnikov... if he plays at all. If he does — and he should — he’ll provide the necessary depth, as the Bolts are in the middle of a long road trip. Stamkos played with Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin after Kucherov left the game, and that line, which actually started the season together, will likely remain intact for the time being.
Conacher, who returned to the Bolts over the offseason, was one of the final cuts the Lightning made in training camp. He has scored two goals and posted five points in four games with the Syracuse Crunch this season.
The Lightning take on the Devils at 7 p.m. Saturday.