At the Tampa Bay Lightning post-practice media scrum, Coach Jon Cooper updated the press on the condition of veteran defenseman Ryan McDonagh.
#TBLightning Jon Cooper said Ryan McDonagh could be back in another week. He’s been skating on own— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) March 30, 2022
McDonagh was injured in the Lightning’s loss to the Boston Bruins a couple of weeks ago when he blocked a shot. At the time he was ruled out “indefinitely” so for Coach Cooper to put something of a timeline on his return is a good sign. The Bolts will definitely want the rugged defender back in the line-up during their stretch run, but for now his absence is giving Cal Foote a chance to play a few games.
With the way the blueline has battled through injuries this season it’s good to get Foote and Zach Bogosian as much playing time as possible during the regular season as they will be called upon in the playoffs at some point. While McDonagh never wants out of the line-up, getting a couple of weeks on the sidelines isn’t the worst thing in the world as he’s likely to play some big minutes as the Lightning try to move up in the division.
Lightning / NHL News
With some stable goaltending for the first time all season, the Syracuse Crunch have moved into a playoff spot with a month to go in the season.
Lightning scorers are finding their way together [Tampa Bay Times]
After a bit of a funk, it seems the top players are starting to find their scoring grove again. Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov are on a line together, and are finding the back of the net. With sixteen games to go in the regular season, it’s nice to see them warming back up.
Observations from ‘the most complete game in a while’ [The Athletic]
Six power play goals in the last three games? Well, that’s a nice little stat. Penalty kill is 15-for-15 in the last four games? That’s an even better stat. Special teams have always been a big factor for the Lightning and with both sides middling a bit this season, it’s a great sign that both have been successful recently.
Minnesota Wild sign Alex Goligoski to two-year extension [Hockey Wilderness]
The Wild have locked up their 36-year-old hometown defenseman for another two years. At $2 million per year it’s not going to break the bank, but it does seem odd for a player that was recently a healthy scratch.
In what was a rather feisty game, Hall responded to a hit from Lyubuskin along the boards by punching him in the back of the head. Not cool, Taylor. The league chose not to suspend him, but levy a $5,000 fine. You can imagine how well that went over with Toronto Maple Leaf fans.
How colorblind players see the game [FiveThirtyEight]
One of those articles that make you think, “Huh, I never thought about that.” Marisa Ingemi spoke with a few players in the league about what it’s like when the colors they see (or don’t see) are different from everyone else. My favorite part, Carter Hart thinking his dog was “dull-color-looking” until he saw him through color-corrective glasses.
The GMs got together for some fun in the Florida sun, while also discussing some possible rule changes. For the first time since the pandemic they were all actually in a room together face-to-face. Not only is it much more productive that way than on video, it’s also a good place for them to start talking about some possible off-season deals. A lot of the summer deals that you see around draft time start at these meetings.
Boston’s reinforcements help Pride go back-to-back [The Ice Garden]
Much like the Lightning in their back-to-back Cups, the Boston Pride kept their core together but reloaded the line-up with the right parts to win the Isobel Cup two seasons in a row.
Your moment of hockey zen - some interesting defending by the Vancouver Canucks