Can’t blame Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher for being exasperated right now. Upon learning LW Ryan Malone suffered a lower-body injury (which kept him out of Tuesday’s game against Toronto and, apparently, tomorrow night’s game against Ottawa as well), the fiery bench boss all but threw up his hands.
“Again with the injuries,” Boucher told the Tampa Tribune. “Happy New Year! It’s been that way since Day One this year, so we are not going to cry about it. We are going to move forward and continue to find ways like we’ve been doing.”
Malone was injured during Monday’s practice on what appeared to be an innocuous collision with Nate Thompson. So innocuous, in fact, that Thompson didn’t realize his teammate was hurt.
“We had a collision, but I’m not sure what is going on,” Thompson said after learning Malone was being held out against Toronto. “This was the first I had heard about it, too.”
The Malone incident is the latest in what’s been an injury-ravaged season for the Bolts. Mattias Ohlund (knees) hasn’t played a single game this year and Victor Hedman is out indefinitely with a concussion. Ryan Shannon is expected to miss another two weeks with a knee sprain (he’s been out since Dec. 21) while Martin St. Louis, Pavel Kubina and Steve Downie have combined to miss 11 contests.
It’s all added up to an extremely disappointing season. The Lightning were within a game of the Stanley Cup Final a year ago but, heading into tonight’s action, sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, seven points back of eighth-place New Jersey.