Will this horrific week ever end? That was the question likely asked by many Saturday night, shortly after watching top goaltender Ben Bishop leave the Tampa Bay Lightning‘s terrible 6-3 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes with an injury.
Ok, I’ll admit Bishop wasn’t exactly having the game of his life, surrendering three goals on 14 shots before leaving early in the second period. But his teammates played much worse, routinely failing to box their opponent out. Then there’s the small matter of not shooting the puck enough, something highlighted by the entire hockey world when the Lightning lost leading scorer Steven Stamkos to a broken right tibia last Monday.
The good news, at least right now, would be that Bishop seems to be alright and shouldn’t miss time. A reason to rejoice? Yeah, maybe, except Lightning fans know how fast the injuries piled up this week. First Stammer (I still am not convinced they’ll stay totally competitive without him), then Sami Salo (finally rejoined the lineup Saturday in Phoenix), Keith Aulie, Mark Barberio (both listed as day-to-day) and Tom Pyatt, who’s nearing a return after breaking his collarbone in October.
Adding Bishop to that list would truly send Lightning fans over the edge. Think about it. They saw their best player go down with a gruesome leg injury, one which will see him miss a large chunk of the season, so the possibility of losing the other player responsible for their nice start isn’t very appealing.
Can the Lightning avoid significant injuries, while also staying competitive, going forward? While unknown, I’m sure Tampa Bay’s breathing a sigh of relief knowing their most emotionally challenging week has come to a close.