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“Fluid Situation” as Tampa Bay Lightning announce recalls and protocols at post-holiday practice

All of this ahead of Tuesday’s date with Montreal.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights
Dec 21, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli (71) is pictured during the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. 
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning are officially back from their Christmas break and the whole team was COVID tested yesterday and ahead of today’s practice.

This morning, the team announced Anthony Cirelli tested positive for COVID-19 and is in the NHL’s protocol. He joins Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Mikhail Sergachev, goalies Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott, and coaches Jon Cooper and Rob Zettler.

With five players and two coaches out, the Lightning announced some call-ups from the Syracuse Crunch, with more on the way. Darren Raddysh, older brother of Taylor, and Andrej Sustr were called up. Unfortunately, when Sustr was called up and tested, he was put into the NHL’s protocol. Raddysh tested negative and was able to take part in practice, including leading the team in the post-practice stretch.

The team is also expected to call up two goalies from the Syracuse Crunch. Those goalies weren’t here today, so goalie coach Frantz Jean and Tampa-based EBUG Kyle Konin served as the goalies in net. If one or both of those AHL goalies can’t go, maybe it’ll be them on the bench or on the ice against Montreal. And with Cooper and Zettler out, Derek Lalonde has been managing the coaching staff.

As for who those Crunch goalies are, Maxime Lagace, Hugo Alnefelt, and Amir Miftakhov are the three goalies on the roster currently. The reason why things are “fluid” is because the Crunch are in the middle of their own outbreak before and after the break and it’s unclear which of the three goalies, if any, are able to make the trip, test negative, and play. We will just have to see.

The Taxi Squad is back this season, with teams able to use it as an option with no minimum requirements. D. Raddysh is on it right now, as is Sustr. The roster itself currently has 11 healthy forwards (plus Point and Kucherov, who have been practicing and might be ready), 5 healthy defensemen (plus D. Raddysh), and no goalies (plus the two that are expected to get called up).

And one forward who might want to give it a crack again for old times sake. Someone needs to tell Cally he needs to play half the season or in the finals if he wants his name on the Cup when the team three-peats.

Now, all this news is leading up to the Tampa Bay Lightning playing the Montreal Canadiens in Tampa tomorrow. And judging by how many Habs players are in protocol, I personally find it very unlikely this game is going to take place at all. Maybe the Florida Panthers game can happen on Thursday, but I don’t think things can go on business as usual for tomorrow.