One day after being wheeled around in a golf cart, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Marty St. Louis was wheeling around the ice on his skates despite dealing with a sore foot.
St. Louis blocked a shot near his foot early in the third period Tuesday against Los Angeles, and though he finished the game, the team’s leading scorer did not practice Wednesday and was not on the ice for Thursday’s morning skate.
On Wednesday, St. Louis had a golf cart to help him from his car to the locker room and was wearing a protective boot.
When Lightning coach Jon Cooper met with the media Thursday morning before the game against the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis was considered a game-time decision.
But as the team came down the tunnel from the locker room for pregame warm-ups 30 minutes before the game, St. Louis led the team onto the ice. The captain took full part in warm-ups, tested the injury by skating side-to-side and by doing pivots before taking part in normal rushes with the top line.
“He took a shot in sort of a tender spot,’’ Cooper said. “He is going to be OK ... and the tests were, to a point, that whatever damage is done he can’t do anything worse to it, so it’s a pain-tolerant thing.”
The 38-year-old has missed only seven games since the end of the 2001-02 season.
“It felt great,” St. Louis said of his foot. “(Wednesday) I wasn’t sure but with the work of (trainers) Tom Mulligan and Mike Poirier, I felt it really helped me and I was able to go.”
Recall on call
With the uncertainty surrounding St. Louis’ availability for Thursday’s game, the Lightning on Wednesday called up RW Brett Connolly, the sixth overall pick in the 2010 draft. Though St. Louis was able to play, Connolly was in the lineup as well, skating on the fourth line with Nate Thompson and B.J. Crombeen.
After enjoying a strong training camp and preseason, Connolly started the season with Syracuse, Tampa Bay’s affiliate in the American Hockey League. He had one assist after three games.
Though it’s unclear how long Connolly will remain with the Lightning, the 21-year-old wants to pick up where he left off at the end of camp.
“You want to try to make the most of it. I’m happy to be up this quick. I’m not sure what is going to happen, but if they need me I’ll be ready,” Connolly said. “I thought I played pretty well down (in Syracuse). ... I’m just excited to be back.”
In 73 games with Tampa Bay, Connolly has five goals and 16 points. After appearing in 68 games with the Lightning as a 19-year-old in 2011-12, he played most of last season with Syracuse, scoring 31 goals and 63 points in 71 games.
St. Louis recorded his 900th career point in a Lightning uniform during Tuesday’s victory, and in doing so joined a unique group of players in league history.
After starting his career with Calgary, appearing in 69 games over two seasons and recording 20 points, St. Louis joined the Lightning as a free agent before the 2000-01 season. He is just the eighth player in NHL history to record 900 points with one team after starting his career with another franchise.
The others: Johnny Bucyk (Bruins), Marcel Dionne (Kings), Phil Esposito (Bruins), Wayne Gretzky (Kings), Brett Hull (Blues), Teemu Selanne (Ducks) and Mats Sundin (Maple Leafs).
Nuts and Bolts
G Ben Bishop has yet to allow a first-period goal in five starts this season. ... D Keith Aulie, D Mark Barberio and LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie were scratched. ... Tampa Bay has scored the first goal in the first four games on its seven-game homestand. ... The Lightning have outscored opponents 6-1 in the first period this season.