Things didn’t look great when Erik Cernak left the Tampa Bay Lightning game against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 9th with an upper body injury. He fills a huge role for the team as one of their minutes leaders, blocked shots leaders, and just good ol’ tough to play against leaders. At the time of the injury he was expected to be out “week-to-week” and now, after just over a week, it looks like he could be back soon.
Cooper said Erik Cernak is probably another week away. Recovering from an upper-body injury suffered Nov. 9. #GoBolts— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) November 16, 2021
Another week’s absence would put the big defender out of the line-up for games against Philadelphia (tonight), New Jersey (Saturday), Minnesota (Sunday), and Philadelphia (Tuesday). That could possibly put him in line for a return against old friend Yanni Gourde and the Seattle Kraken the day after Thanksgiving.
If and when he comes back, it will allow the Lightning to deploy the full defensive corp that they had planned on at the beginning of the season. Everyone will finally be healthy at the same time. The defense has been playing better as a whole lately, but adding Cernak back in would be a tremendous boost and allow the coaching staff to control the minutes of the entire unit to prevent them from getting worn out early in the season.
Lightning / NHL News
Player Q&A: Steven Stamkos [NHLPA]
The Captain believes that cilantro is overrated. Which is kind of weird because I’ve never thought of cilantro being rated at all. I’m pretty sure no one has ever said, “You know what’s really awesome? Cilantro!” It just kind of is there, like Billy Joel. Now if you want to talk about overrated herbs lets talk about basil.
Inside the summer that fueled Lightning’s Steven Stamkos’ hot start [The Athletic]
Joe Smith takes a deep dive into Stamkos’ summer where he was finally able to train again as opposed to spending the offseason rehabbing.
Lightning’s Raddysh, Katchouk earning expanded roles [Tampa Bay Times]
The Rookies are starting to earn Coach Cooper’s trust. Their solid play at even strength has started to earn them some special teams play as well. It will bode well for the Lighting if the duo (and Ross Colton) can provide some consistancy and a little offense on the fourth line.
Crunch topped by Monsters in overtime, 2-1 [Syracuse Crunch]
Syracuse’s offense struggled again despite scoring early. Shawn Element recorded his first AHL goal just 1:09 into the game, but that was it for the offense and despite Amir Miftakhov’s 34 saves, they dropped the game in overtime where Cleveland’s Tyler Angle scored the game-winner.
Brendan Gallagher fined $2,500 by NHL for punch [Montreal Gazette]
Old friend Barclay Goodrow took a shot to the face from Gallagher in their game on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the league decided it was worthy of $2,500 fine. Gallagher accepted the fine with grace and humility...yeah, right. “I’m aware, but I’m also aware of taking a lot of punches to the face and (I have) not folded. There’s a little bit of a sell job going on and it’s fine. That’s what he’s [Goodrow] about.”
After watching him over the last two seasons I can’t say that Goodrow is much of an embellisher.
Panthers star Barkov is out ‘week-to-week’ [Florida Hockey Now]
The Panthers easily handled the Islanders on Tuesday, unfortunately they may have suffered a bigger loss as Sasha Barkov left the game after a hit from Scott Mayfield (Lightning fans may remember him as the Islander whose hit along the boards broke Nikita Kucherov’s rib in the playoffs last season). While Barkov won’t require surgery on his left knee, but will be out of the line up on a ‘week-to-week’ basis according to head coach Andrew Brunette.
Where do the Canucks go from here? [32 Thoughts]
Things are getting quite dire in Vancouver and there are no quick fixes in sight. That’s unfortunate. Among his other 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman speculates that if the Pens are sold for around $900 million it could possibly spark a few more owners to sell their clubs.
Staples Center will be renamed Crypto.com Arena starting on Christmas Day [ESPN.com]
For a cool $700 million over the next 20 years, the five-year old, Singapore-based cryptocurrency platform will be able to splash their name all over one of the most famous arenas in all of sports. Good for them.