To say Tampa Bay is a mixed bag at the moment is putting it lightly.
Yesterday, the team acquired defensemen Keith Aulie, Brian Lee and Mike Commodore at the deadline. Lee and Commodore made practice on Tuesday (Aulie was held up waiting for a visa) and were joined by recent waiver claim Tim Wallace, plus three call-ups from AHL Norfolk — Brandon Segal, Mike Angelidis and Trevor Smith — with a fourth, Evan Oberg, en route.
The reason for all the new faces? Well, Vincent Lecavalier (hand), Ryan Shannon (upper-body), Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) and Victor Hedman (upper-body) are out with injuries. Oh yeah, a stomach virus also hit the Lightning dressing room, forcing Teddy Purcell, Nate Thompson and Brendan Mikkelson home from practice.
As such, nobody’s quite sure who’ll suit up to face Montreal this evening. One thing’s for certain, though — head coach Guy Boucher’s never seen anything like it.
“I don’t know who’s going to play tonight,” Boucher told NHL.com. “We’ll just see what we put on the ice.”
Outside of his top forward line (Ryan Malone, Steve Stamkos, Martin St. Louis) and defensive pairing (Eric Brewer, Brett Clark), Boucher is basically guessing at the rest of his lineup. Seriously, guessing. Here’s his explanation for pairing Commodore and Lee.
“We’ll play Commodore and Lee together, since they both won’t know what’s happening,” Boucher said. “We’ll try to help them both at the same time.”
Speaking of Commodore, he’s not exactly well-rested heading into tonight’s game.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I got to bed around 3 a.m,” he explained of his trade deadline experience. “I was in Tampa by 11 p.m. but I couldn’t fall asleep. A lot happened yesterday. I had a couple of hours to get things packed and catch a flight.
“Hopefully, I’ll get a nap today and be ready to go.”