I think it is safe to say that Tampa Bay Lightning fans got a bit of news yesterday that they were not hoping to hear. While Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop did take the ice with the team during practice, he did not face any real shots from the team. In fact, according to Tampa Bay Lightning Beat Reporter Missy Zielinski, Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper has said that he doesn’t believe that fans will be seeing Bishop anytime soon.
Cooper said “I don’t think we’ll be seeing Bishop anytime soon,” but if playoff series goes the distance he’s not completely ruled out.
— Missy Zielinski (@Missy_Zielinski) April 17, 2014
The good news is, as Zielinski’s tweet says, should the playoff series go the distance, Bishop has not yet been completely ruled out.
Bishop has been on the sidelines since Tuesday, April 8th when the goaltender was forced to leave the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening minutes of the game after making an acrobatic save the ended with Bishop landing awkwardly on his wrist.
Since taking over for Bishop against the Maple Leafs, Lindback has been able to post not one, but two shutouts; one against the Maple Leafs and the other against the Washington Capitals to close out the regular season for the Bolts and clinch Home Ice Advantage in the first round.
As far as Gudlevskis is concerned, after coming off of a spectacular performance at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi where the Latvian netminder was able to stop 55 of 57 shots brought against him by the all-star roster of Team Canada, was a pretty solid choice to back up Lindback.
In his NHL debut, which took place on April 11th, he was able to bring backstop a 3-2 win for the Lightning over the Columbus Blue Jackets, stopping 36 of 38 Shots on Goal for a Save Percentage of .947.
I think the moral of the story here is that Bishop needs a little more time to recover in able to hit the ice at peak performance. While we wait for the 6’7” Denver native to be ready to make his triumphant return to the ice, the Bolts are in good hands with Lindback and Gudlevskis.