Nate Thompson is glad – and very fortunate – he took that advice.
A day after taking a puck to the head that left his visor shattered in pieces, Thompson wasn't even sporting a black eye, just a bit of a swollen area above his right eye where he needed eight stitches to close a cut.
Thompson said he did not want to even think about what sort of shape he would be in if he wasn't wearing a visor when Mike Green's shot immediately flew up off his stick, striking Thompson, who had no time to react. Green came right over to Thompson to make sure he was OK and to apologize for the high shot.
“I look at it like it's a good thing that I'm OK because it could have been a lot worse,'' Thompson said. “It was scary to watch'' the replay.
Thompson never wore a visor once he reached the NHL level – his last year in the American Hockey League visors were mandatory – and wasn't wearing one until the start of last season after hearing Yzerman speak of a close call he had when struck in the eye with a puck during the 2004 Western Conference semifinals. It made Thompson reconsider putting a shield on his helmet.
“I've been hit in the face before, but nothing to that extent, and when Steve Yzerman talked to me and mentioned it, and he obviously had a scary situation in his career,'' Thompson said, “and you always tend to think about it more when he tells you something.''
Thompson returned to Saturday's game but left after taking three shifts in the second period when he informed the coaching staff he wasn't feeling right. So as a precaution, Thompson sat out Sunday's game in Buffalo and will be reevaluated prior to Tuesday's game in Winnipeg.
Up and down
With Thompson being held out for precautionary reasons, the team recalled JT Wyman from Syracuse of the AHL. Wyman spent half of last season with the Lightning, appearing in 40 games.
In addition, Tampa Bay reassigned D Mark Barberio to Syracuse after the rookie appeared in two games since being called up on Tuesday. Barberio was a healthy scratch on Saturday when D Victor Hedman returned to the lineup after missing four games with a lower body injury. Wyman also headed back to Syracuse following Sunday's game after playing 13:31 while winning seven of 11 faceoffs.
Another one out
One night after losing Thompson, the Lightning had to play most of Sunday without C Tom Pyatt, who sustained an upper-body injury following a check along the boards by Buffalo D Mike Weber in the first period. Pyatt did not return to the game.
“It's probably a little bit more precautionary … he took one close to the head, and I spoke to him a little bit and he said he was just a little off, and in today's day and age a little off means you are out,'' Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “But I don't think it's a long-term thing.”
Nuts and Bolts
LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie missed his second-consecutive game with an upper-body injury … Lightning radio broadcaster Dave Mishkin was wearing a bulldog tie on Sunday, one day after his alma mater, Yale University (Bulldogs), captured the NCAA hockey championship with a 4-0 victory over Quinnipiac, the alma mater of head team medical trainer Tom Mulligan. … Tampa Bay lost the season series to Buffalo for the fifth time in the past eight seasons.