The Tampa Bay Lightning practiced on Tuesday ahead of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. Curtis McElhinney was not present as he has been placed on the NHL’s COVID protocol list and is isolating from the team until it is deemed safe. Christopher Gibson from the Taxi Squad took his place in the backup net.
Andrei Vasilevskiy was unfortunately also not present for practice. Head coach Jon Cooper gave his starting goaltender a “body maintenance” day off two days out from the team’s next game (Coop said not to worry). In his stead was Lightning goalie coach Frantz Jean, who was apparently quite formidable between the pipes.
Vasy is fine, the team will have Gibson backing up, and there’s Spencer Martin in the AHL with Syracuse if anything more dire should come up. But I ask out of an abundance of caution, is that enough?
I’ve worried all offseason that the Lightning don’t have enough goaltending depth (after last season where they had too much and it clogged up the Crunch in net). Currently the Lightning have four goalies under NHL contracts, three of whom are on the active roster/taxi squad due to this season’s rules. And with McElhinney out of commission, they’re already running short — though they don’t need to fulfill that rule until their next gameday. But one more bit of bad luck from COVID or an injury, and all of a sudden Jean is in net with Martin rushing over with a two-week quarantine in the way.
I do think it’s high time the Lightning invest in another goalie that can be on the Taxi Squad or with the Crunch as their third goalie (because only Garret Sparks is behind Clint Windsor, and he’s in Orlando). By the way, check out Windsor’s mask! It’s slick.
Bring Mike Condon back if he’s interested, Jimmy Howard is also a free agent. Angus Redmond has a good reputation in the minor leagues. Someone, anyone, because I think this team really needs it. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
And for the record, I don’t think a waiver goalie is an option since the Lightning would need to keep him on the active roster and right now the team needs the open space in order to play a replacement for Blake Coleman, who is also on the COVID protocol list.
What do you think? Should the Lightning add a goalie?
This poll is closed
One more would be nice
Don’t panic, Hardev, they’ll be fine
Here is the practice report with more on the goalie situation and a new-look third line. [NHL dot com]
McElhinney was placed on the list Saturday. Coleman went on Monday. Jon Cooper didn’t have an update whether either would be available for Thursday’s game in Columbus or their status for the rest of the road trip. “We’ll know by Thursday with precaution going out,” Cooper said. “When we know, we’ll let you know.”
This one from the Tampa Bay Times has more on Vasilevskiy as well as goalie coach Frantz Jean. [Tampa Bay Times]
Dave Mishkin wrote about how he, Bobby Taylor, and the broadcast team have had to adjust during the pandemic. [NHL dot com]
Of course, we aren’t the only ones utilizing a remote setup during this unique NHL season. Home television and radio broadcasts can take place in the arena where the games are being played. Phil and I called the first two Lightning games from Amalie Arena. After NBCSN took the opener, Dave Randorf and Brian Engblom worked Friday’s Lightning-Blackhawks game for Fox Sports Sun from the press box, too.
Mikhail Sergachev tried to put his pet cat in the Stanley Cup, it does not look like it cooperated!
The NHL mic’d up Alex Killorn for Opening Night. It’s A+ content, as always from Killer.
Tracey has the latest Solar Bear check-in. The team did well during a triple-header after losing a handful of their regulars to the Syracuse Crunch, who started their training camp this week. [Raw Charge]
Forward Nikita Pavlychev was added to the ECHL Commissioner’s Exempt List on Wednesday. To refresh your memory on what that list is, a player on this list is ineligible to play due to the league’s COVID/Return to Play Protocols. This does not necessarily mean the player has a positive test, but he could have had close contact with someone who did test positive, or may be showing symptoms and is waiting for a test result.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators had to postpone their game after four players on the Canes tested positive for COVID-19. Mikael Granlund of Nashville is also on the COVID protocol list.
Hurricanes players Warren Foegele, Jordan Martinook, Jaccob Slavin and Teuvo Teravainen join Jordan Staal on NHL's COVID-19 list. Mikael Granlund remains only Predators player on it. Carolina's game at Nashville scheduled for tonight was postponed.— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) January 19, 2021