Welcome sight at Bolts practice on Wednesday as Anton Stralman — who’s missed all of the postseason with a broken leg — returned to partake in his first full session since suffering the injury in March.
Stralman participated in all drills and skated on a pairing with regular defensive partner Victor Hedman, leading some to speculate Stralman could draw into the lineup when the Bolts take on the Pens in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final on Friday.
Head coach Jon Cooper tried to tap the brakes on that theory, though.
“I will just set the record straight now, all injured players are indefinite,” Cooper said, per the Tampa Bay Times. “Don’t read anything into anything until you see them at the game. It’s unfair to the players. When they’re in, we’ll let you know when they’re going to be in.
“No use in putting timelines on guys. They usually turn out to be wrong anyway. It’s all speculation.”
A 22-minutes-per-night guy that’s among the Bolts’ best possession d-men, Stralman is a valuable right-handed shot, on a blueline that doesn’t have many.
It’s why the club has been anxious to get him back in the mix, especially against a Pittsburgh team he’s fared well against this season.
Stralman was a key piece of last year’s Stanley Cup Final run, scoring nine points in 26 games.