Ben Bishop was one of the big feel good stories of the 2013-14 campaign — or at least he was for most of it. He struggled for years to ascend above the backup role and ran with the opportunity given to him by the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The 27-year-old netminder had a 2.23 GAA and .924 save percentage in 63 games to earn a nomination for the Vezina Trophy and propel the Lightning into the playoffs. It all went sour though when Bishop sustained an elbow injury on April 8 that ultimately ended his campaign.
Although the extent of his injury wasn’t immediately known, in the locker room during the first intermission of that contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the prospect that he might not be able to play in the postseason after everything he and his teammates had gone through brought him to tears.
The fact that he was forced to watch the subsequent games from the press box probably didn’t help.
“Normally you’re at least backing up or in the locker room,” he told the Lightning’s website. “Being up there [in the press box], I felt helpless.”
Without him, the Lightning lost four straight games to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. No other team has been swept in the 2014 playoffs.
Bishop has to put that behind him though and focus on starting from scratch.
“It almost feels like my year was incomplete by not being able to play in the playoffs,” Bishop said. “I have a target for next year; I’ll be ready for that. I’ll come back stronger and better by next year. I’m already excited.”