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Lightning Round: Nikita Kucherov day-to-day as more support arrives

And Andrei Vasilevskiy doesn’t have ESPN+

Tampa Bay Lightning v Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 14: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning handles the puck during warmups before an NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on October 14, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan.
Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images

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.

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.

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.

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.

One last link is for the Syracuse Crunch again. After getting shut down over the holidays due to COVID-19, the Crunch have a revised schedule for their final 54 regular season games that will take place in only 17 weeks. Basically, the Crunch will be playing three or four games per week nonstop until the end of April. That includes all 17 Fridays and Saturdays, two triple-headers, and 11 three-in-four or four-in-five weekends. Maintaining health, energy, and focus during this marathon will be really tough for the folks in New York.