Lightning’s Malone (ankle) out 3-4 weeks


The Tampa Bay Lightning received more bad injury news on Tuesday, as GM Steve Yzerman estimates Ryan Malone will miss three-to-four weeks with a fractured (non-displaced) ankle, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Malone, 34, suffered the injury when he was hit by a puck in a Nov. 22 game against the Anaheim Ducks.

It’s been that kind of month (or so) for the Lightning, as Malone joins Steve Stamkos (out months) and Radko Gudas (day-to-day) as the most noteworthy injured players (unless you count virtually retired defenseman Mattias Ohlund, too).

Malone isn’t the most reliable scorer – just two points in his last 11 games – but he combines at least the possibility of offensive contributions with a lot of grit in a large frame.

The Lightning have been scratching and clawing with Stamkos & Co. injured. They’ll have to keep doing that with a depleted roster for quite some time.

(H/T to Rotoworld.)

Iginla: Fighting is ‘definitely part of Bruins hockey’


In his first game with Boston, Jarome Iginla endeared himself to the TD Garden faithful with a spirited scrap against Tampa Bay’s Radko Gudas.

Following the tilt, Iginla said it was all part of embracing his team’s style.

“It’s definitely part of Bruins hockey, playing against them over the years and watching them,” Iginla told the Boston Globe. “It’s a very competitive, aggressive team.

“Trying to play alongside of that and contribute in those areas. Try to play physical, try to go [to] the net. Sometimes fights happen. It happened to be in the first game. Every guy takes a lot of pride in competing hard. Fights do happen. Guys are ready for that, too.”

While Iginla doesn’t fight very often — he has just nine over the last four seasons, according to — his scraps often have a flair for the dramatic.

After receiving a lukewarm introduction in his Bruins debut, he won over the B’s fans with the Gudas tilt.

Last year, he infamously fought Nathan Horton in his first game in Boston as a Penguin, just weeks after spurning a trade deadline deal to the Bruins.

Iginals’ most famous fight, though, might’ve come during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, when he (as captain of the Flames) took on Tampa Bay’s Vincent Lecavalier:

More on that incident, from the Canadian Press:

There can be no disputing the positive results that have followed such an encounter this post-season, a trend that should prove alarming to Tampa Bay.

Iginla fought Vancouver defenceman Mattias Ohlund in game three of the opening series. Calgary went on to win three of the next four games to eliminate the Canucks.

In game two of the next series, Iginla squared off with big Detroit defenceman Derian Hatcher. Again, the Flames went on to take three of the next four games and knock off the Red Wings.

“That’s why he’s our leader,” said Calgary forward Chris Clark. “If he’s going to go out and fight, be rough, and he’s the best player in the league, you know people are going to follow him.”

Chris Simon, one of the NHL’s primary enforcers, was moved onto the top Flames top line Saturday with Conroy and Iginla, but he knows that Iginla likes to fight his own battles.

“That fight was huge, it really set the tone physically for us and we talked before the game that we had to bring a physical presence,” Simon said.

As for fighting in general, Iginla said that while he wouldn’t mind seeing less of it, he’s not prepared to ban it outright.

“Part of it is it’s been a part of our sport for so long,” he explained. “So, I think in my opinion I don’t mind seeing less of it, [but] like I said, I don’t think I’m there where I’d like to see it all gone.”

Mattias Ohlund: ‘Conditions to play become less and less’


Mattias Ohlund hasn’t played a National Hockey League game since May 27 – of 2011 – and once again is talking about the sober reality facing his career.

According to the Swedish newspaper Norrbottens-Kuriren (and translated through Google), the Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman has not made an official decision about his playing career, but maintains the realization that it might be over due to injury and recovery from major surgery on his left knee.

As per Norrbottens-Kuriren and a Google translation, Ohlund feels “no need to make any final decision.”

He continued to say that he has not played in more than two years and has to “…realize that the conditions to play again becomes less and less.”

Ohlund’s last game came against the Boston Bruins in the 2011 Eastern Conference final. In February of 2012, Ohlund underwent major surgery on his left knee, and despite a lengthy rehabilitation process, he has yet to make a return.

He turns 37 years of age on Sept. 9, and still has three years remaining on a contract that pays him $25.25 million over seven years, according to

Ohlund has spoken before about the uncertainty facing his NHL career. His comments to the Swedish newspaper reiterate what he told reporters in Tampa Bay earlier this spring.

In April, he told The Tampa Tribune: “For a long period of time I’ve been trying to get better and better, but clearly the longer you don’t play, the likelihood of playing again gets smaller and smaller each day, especially at my age.”

Ohlund was selected 13th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in the 1994 NHL Draft.

He played 11 seasons for the Canucks, before signing with the Lightning as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2009.

Yzerman not planning to use second buyout this summer


After the Lightning announced they were buying out captain Vincent Lecavalier this morning, the next question was if there’d be someone else headed out the door with a fat paycheck in hand.

GM Steve Yzerman says that’s not in the cards right now.

Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times finds out from Yzerman that there’s nothing cooking for another buyout this summer.

“We’ll see what happens next year but for this year there’s no plan,” he said.

What that means is forward Ryan Malone can breathe a little easier.

With Lecavalier out the door, that could mean just about anyone would be eligible to be bought out and Malone was a prime target with two years and $5 million left on his contract. Malone’s biggest issue, however, is his $4.5 million cap hit. If Mattias Ohlund were healthy, he too would likely be a candidate as well.

Ohlund’s injury status has Tampa Bay in a bind

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Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund hasn’t played since the end of the 2010-2011 season. A terrible knee injury has put his career in doubt and the team has him under contract until 2015-2016.

Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times says Ohlund’s inability to play is going to wind up costing the team a lot of money one way or another. Ohlund, meanwhile, says there’s not much more he can do to get healthier.

“From a surgery standpoint, there is nothing more that I can do,” he said. “Everybody has been absolutely wonderful, management, coaches and everybody with the Lightning. As for how it’s going to play out, I’m not completely sure.”

With three more years left on his deal, the Lightning would normally likely use a compliance buyout on Ohlund. His injury status makes that impossible to do as injured players cannot be bought out.

While the team can get cap relief, if needed, by putting him on long-term injured reserve they’ll still have to pay up the final $6.75 million he’s owed. Ohlund could also retire, but it’s highly unlikely he’d be eager to give up the money to do it. Somehow GM Steve Yzerman is going to have to make his $3.6 million cap hit not be an issue.