Tampa Bay Lightning
Lightning notes: Ohlund moving closer to retirement
The official end of Mattias Ohlund's career appears near.
After two knee operations in the past 18 months and hundreds of hours spent doing rehab and workouts, the 36-year-old said he is no closer to being able to get back on skates to resume his career.
The most logical step would be to hang up the skates and announce his retirement. Though he did not say that was his next step, it is a subject that has come up many times in different conversations.
“I've thought about (the next step) quite a bit, but it clearly involves more people than me,” Ohlund said Sunday. “I've spoke to Steve (Yzerman) quite a bit about what the end result will be. For a long period of time I've been trying to get better and better, but clearly the longer you don't play, the likelihood of playing again gets smaller and smaller each day, especially at my age. I don't know long term what my situation will be, but I'm sure it will be figured out shortly.''
In the meantime, Ohlund has been on the road with the team for the past three games to serve as an additional set of eyes to help the coaching staff — which he did at one point last season — something new head coach Jon Cooper asked about shortly after taking over last week.
“I'm a big believer in you surround yourself with as many good people as possible and good things will happen,'' Cooper said. “The respect he garners and the knowledge he has, even though he's not going to play for the rest of the year, he's too much of a wealth of knowledge and been in the trenches for too long, and I would be remiss if I didn't try to tap into that.''
Milestone for Marty † Sunday marked the 900th career game for Marty St. Louis in a Lightning uniform. The former league MVP and scoring champion appeared in 69 games with Calgary in parts of two seasons before joining Tampa Bay before the 2000-01 season. St. Louis also entered Sunday with 898 career points, and he picked up a first-period assist for his 899th point.
Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier is the only player in franchise history to appear in 1,000 games with Tampa Bay, having reached that milestone in the second game of the season Jan. 21. Though St. Louis won't reach 1,000 games played with Tampa Bay next season, he is scheduled to play in his 1,000th career game in the 21st game of next season.
Back to Bishop † Cooper called upon G Ben Bishop for Sunday's key matchup against Southeast Division-leading Washington, handing the 6-foot-7 netminder starts on back-to-back nights. It also marked Bishop's third start in four days since being acquired from Ottawa on Wednesday, starting with a 45-save shutout Thursday before allowing three goals on 27 shots in Saturday's loss at the New York Islanders.
“I think sometimes we sit there and say back-to-back games and coming off a loss, but he didn't play poorly at all. He actually played pretty well,” Cooper said. “Bish has played in the American League, he's played in the NHL. In the American League you play three games in three nights and a goalie may start all three of them. It's not something out of the norm, especially what he's played growing up. I don't think he had a huge workload (Saturday) night.''
With Ottawa coming up on the schedule Tuesday, Cooper said it doesn't enter his thought process much if he wanted to give Bishop the night off Sunday and let him go against his former team.
“You're only human,” Cooper said. “You see there and think about, 'Well, you're going to play against your old team.' But I think if it came down to playing a game to try and get us back into the divisional race or play your old team, I'm pretty sure he'd take the divisional race game.''
Nuts and Bolts † D Matt Carle extended his scoring streak to a career-long five games with a second-period assist. … RW Dana Tyrell was a healthy scratch. … D Victor Hedman (lower body) missed his second consecutive game. … Washington scratched C Brooks Laich (groin) and RW Martin Erat (lower body). … Lecavalier's power-play goal was the 185th of his career.