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Lightning journal: Familiar rehab territory for Ryan Callahan

By NICK KELLY

Times Staff Writer

TAMPA — Whenever Lightning F Ryan Callahan needs encouragement while he rehabilitates a right shoulder injury, all he needs to do is look to his left.

Four years ago, Callahan suffered a similar injury to his other shoulder and has zero issues with it now.

"I hope the same for my right," Callahan said Thursday as the Lightning opened training camp. "I was happy with how my left turned out. That was my approach going into this one. I tried to rehab the same way. I hope it comes back like my left did. So far it has."

Doctors told Callahan to expect the recovery to take five months after he had surgery in May. That five-month date is Nov. 1. The season opens Oct. 6 at home against the Panthers.

But Callahan did not want to name a target date for his return.

"Obviously still a little ways away from (Nov. 1)," he said. "So it is hard to say if I am exactly on that, ahead of it or behind that. But I am where I should be at this point."

Callahan is not completely out of commission. He has skated with his teammates and in practice. F Nikita Kucherov said Callahan looks good.
"Every day he seems to be feeling better," Kucherov said. "It is huge for us to have him on the team."

Callahan, who is in his 14th season, scored five goals and had 13 assists in 67 games last season. He played more than half the season with the injury.
Callahan wants to come back as soon as possible but knows he might have to be patient.

"I think you just listen to your body," he said. "It's a time line. Sometimes you feel a little bit better ahead of that time line. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer. Everybody heals differently."

Lightning misses out on Karlsson

The wait for All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson to be traded is over after an offseason of speculation. But it's not the ending that Lightning fans likely wanted. Karlsson, whom the Lightning was rumored to be interested in, was traded from Ottawa to San Jose.

To acquire Karlsson, the Sharks traded forwards Chris Tierney and Rudolfs Balcers, defenseman Dylan DeMelo, prospect Josh Norris, a conditional 2019 second-round draft pick and a conditional 2020 first-round pick. Ottawa also gets back a 2021 second-round pick if San Jose re-signs Karlsson, who is in the final year of his contract. San Jose also receives prospect Francis Perron.

Karlsson won the Norris Trophy as the league's top defenseman in 2012 and 2015, and twice was has been the runnerup. He has outscored every defenseman since he entered the NHL in 2009-10, tallying 518 points. With Karlsson leaving Ottawa, he also leaves the Lightning's division and conference.

Much of the speculation that Karlsson would be a good fit with the Lightning was fueled by the time he spent with Lightning defenseman and good friend  Victor Hedman during the All-Star Game weekend in Tampa last season.

Yzerman reaction

If the news of Steve Yzerman resigning as general manager came as a surprise to you, you were not alone.

Callahan, defenseman Victor Hedman, and forwards Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos said the decision announced Tuesday, shocked them.

"No one really saw that coming," Stamkos said. "Selfishly, you are a little disappointed because of how much he has done for this organization. Our relationship … I thought was really, really good. It's tough."

But Stamkos and every other player who spoke with the media Thursday said they support Yzerman's decision.

"You understand his position, and you respect his decision, for sure," Stamkos said.

Especially when the decision involves spending more time with family.

"Not being close to his family (which remained based in Detroit), it takes a toll, I am sure," Hedman said. "I have nothing but respect for him as a general manager. I am very comfortable with the transition of Julien (BriseBois) taking over."

Hedman expressed gratitude for how Yzerman believed in him. Callahan said he was grateful to Yzerman for bringing him to Tampa in the Marty St. Louis trade in March 2014.

But they are not expecting the change to create any issues.

"As a player, I don't think we are going to see much change at all," Callahan said. "It is going to be business as usual for us. "

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