It’s clear that even if Ben Bishop was able to make it to the playoffs, the Lightning still wouldn’t have had a chance.
Ben Bishop is continuing his rehab this summer of his right wrist and left elbow and SUN Sports’ Paul Kennedy caught up with him after he took shots for the first time. During the season we’ve seen Bishop sporting a hard cast and drop sticks with his blocker. And when you have screws inserted, that’s pretty serious.
If all of that didn’t convince you that Bishop’s body wasn’t going to survive a playoff round let alone a playoff game, he told Kennedy in his own words:
BISHOP: Begin with this — I had to change the way I played the game. It was injured and taped earlier in the season and then really hurt against Toronto about a month later. From that point on I was wearing a hard cast every night. We (training staff) messed around with it a little bit, but I couldn’t bend the wrist (blocker and stick side). So if I had to cut off the angle with my blocker, that was a problem. Using my stick to bring the puck back to me was different.
KENNEDY: We’re talking about inches in rebounds and fractions of seconds of reaction time by both teams between a save and a goal. This is all happening in the blink of an eye.
BISHOP: To be honest with you, there were probably five to 10 goals I would have saved with a good wrist that ended up in the net. I can think of two right now off the top of my head. Easily 5 to 10. I wasn’t going to say anything, or complain. I just kept doing my best given the circumstances.
Then the elbow dropped, well, dislocated, and all of that work to cope with the wrist injury became another story.
Bishop’s injury shows the double standard when it comes to injuries in pro sports that at times pays off when a player’s emotion fuels him. When a guy has an injury that keeps him out like Steven Stamkos, the mantra is they won’t let him come back until he’s 100 percent. Well, he came back at less than 100 percent and even admitted that. It was close enough for the structure of the injury, but he had a lot to do, even during this offseason, to regain strength. In Bishop’s case, he could still skate and move but for a goalie, if he has to make that much of an adjustment just to still play, he shouldn’t be in.
Players are heralded playing with injuries, especially come playoff time, but scorned when rushed back from one if they sat out too long. Can a goalie at 80 percent health be better than the one at 100 percent health next to him? The gamble worked for the Lightning because Anders Lindback wasn’t even available during a course of Bishop’s wrist injury, on injured reserve himself until getting recalled from a conditioning stint on March 3, 2013. Instead, Olympic wunderkind Kristers Gudlevskis sat as back-up with Cooper hesitating to start him. Then finally everything went to shit in April when Bishop was out and he had to recall Gudlevskis and give him a start in case he had to play in the playoffs, which he did. And it didn’t matter because of the five players in front of him on the ice.
Speaking of Lindback, he was spotted in his old Lightning gear and jersey during the annual Brynas black-and-white exhibition game…where this Swedish clip translates to “Lindback’s nightmare period” where he lets in five goals in less than 20 minutes. I know it’s an exhibition match, but dude can’t catch a break. Sport Bladet
The ECHL and CHL could merge while the AHL wants to pick up some of the Western Conference teams, according to reports. Puck Daddy takes a look at what all of this could mean, even splitting up the AHL. Harrison Mooney | Puck Daddy
(My two cents: If each NHL team will have one full, non-shared ECHL team, keep in mind that the Hurricanes’ Peter Karmanos owns both the Florida Everblades and Germain Arena.)
Jon Cooper dumps a bucket of ice on him to raise awareness to fight ALS, or Lou Gherig’s Disease. The Ice Bucket Challenge, as it’s called, ends with Cooper challenging Lightning CEO Tod Leiweke, director of player development Stacy Roest and Crunch coach Rod Zettler. Former Sabres coach Ron Rolston and former Bolt J.P. Cote challenged Cooper. YouTube
For more, check out Mashable’s explanation of the history of the Ice Bucket Challenge and how it’s used to raise money for ALS research. Bonus: It includes a bucket challenge photo of former Bolt Ryan Shannon.
Sports Illustrated opines whether we’ve seen the last of Sami Salo and Ryan Malone in the NHL along with other free agents. Answers are most likely and most definitely. Allan Muir | SI
A Florida resident wants to watch New York Islanders games only and doesn’t want to pay for GameCenter Live or Center Ice and a two-year court battle continues. Also of interest, apparently New York City providers carry Florida sports stations but blacks out Lightning games. Rick Westhead | TSN
Yes, the Lightning use Fancy Stats, but they’re not telling you how. Joe Smith | Tampa Bay Times