Monday was a rare practice day for the Tampa Bay Lightning ahead of their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight. Superstar winger Nikita Kucherov is close to his long-awaited return, as Jon Cooper lists him as day-to-day now. To most normal people, day-to-day is usually considered 2-3 days away, but most NHL coaches seem to think that means 7-10 days. I guess they like more of a grey area for contingency.
Jon Cooper said Nikita Kucherov is inching along closer to day to day. Bogosian out tomorrow— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) January 3, 2022
Jon Cooper tells us he hopes to have Kucherov return to game action by the middle of January #GoBolts— Gabby Shirley (@Gabby_Shirley_) January 2, 2022
Also at practice was Zach Bogosian, who missed the last game after getting injured midway through the Florida game before New Years. He’s out tomorrow, but it’s likely he’s back before Kucherov.
More good news came from practice as Taylor Raddysh, Cal Foote, and assistant coach Rob Zettler were back on the ice after being in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol. In a corresponding move, the Lightning sent forward Alex Barre-Boulet and goaltender Maxime Lagace back to the Syracuse Crunch. Lagace going back seems to indicate the OG (original goalie) duo of Andrei Vasilevskiy and Brian Elliott is together again.
UPDATE: Cal Foote, Taylor Raddysh and Rob Zettler have exited COVID protocol— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) January 3, 2022
Speaking of quarantine, Andrei Vasilevskiy told reporters that during his time at home, he missed all the Lightning’s games because he doesn’t have ESPN+. Wow, that’s both hilarious because he’s a multi-millionaire, but also shows how annoying it is for even local fans to watch these games nowadays.
Andrei Vasilevskiy on his time away during COVID protocol: “I didn’t watch any games. I didn’t have subscription, that ESPN-plus thing.” @TBLightning— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) January 3, 2022
After getting in the final 20 minutes of the Panthers game, Hugo Alnefelt officially became the 75th player to play for both the Syracuse Crunch and Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampacuse is going strong. You all know this, but I’ll repeat how invaluable the management, coaching, and development staffs have been to the growth of the Lightning. Finding players, building them up, and getting them ready. They’ve been the cream of the crop at it in the NHL.
7️⃣5️⃣— Syracuse Crunch (@SyracuseCrunch) January 3, 2022
Hugo is our 75th player to play for both the Crunch and Lightning during this affiliation. ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/ZmkGNcurjH