The Tampa Bay Lightning have the best record in hockey, but are dealing with their fair share of bumps and bruises right now. The only major injury on the roster belongs to defenseman Jake Dotchin, who has been sidelined with an undisclosed and reportedly “freak” injury for the past two weeks. However, the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith writes that Dotchin was back at practice today and could soon return to action. The Bolts have the luxury of easing Dotchin back into the lineup – he was still donning a red “no-contact” jersey today – due to both the team’s success and sufficient depth of talent on the blue line. Nevertheless, the strong defensive presence that Dotchin brings paired nicely with All-Star Victor Hedman as the team’s top duo and coach John Cooper is surely eager to get his defensive groupings back together.
- Another barrier to that task could be lingering health issues with Braydon Coburn. The veteran stay-at-home defender is also banged-up and unable to play due to an undisclosed injury. Coburn missed the Lightning’s last game and tonight’s contest and there is no word on when he will return.
- Although the Bolts still have a solid six without Dotchin and Coburn, the team still went ahead and recalled Jamie McBain from the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch, the team announced. McBain was on hand for tonight’s game, but did not suit up for Tampa against the New York Islanders. McBain, 29, has had a strong 2017-18 campaign in the AHL thus far and will continue to be a reliable backup option for the Lightning should their blue line injuries persist.