The severity of the injury that Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop suffered on Sunday night has yet to be determined, but head coach Jon Cooper is hoping for the best.
Bishop, one of the top goalies in the NHL, was injured early in the opening period of last night's tilt against the Edmonton Oilers with what the team is calling an upper-body injury, most likely on his right hand or arm the Tampa Bay Times is reporting.
After facing just one shot, a goal by Jordan Eberle, Bishop skated to the bench and eventually would leave the ice and game for good. Anders Linback made 21 saves on 25 shots in relief of Bishop as the Oilers went on to top the visiting Lightning, 5-3.
Lindback, 3-8-1, will have his work cut out for him if the injury does require Bishop to miss many games.
"If it comes back and he's out for two months, I'm sure that'll probably be a little bit of an issue," Cooper said. "But it's hard to speculate. I don't know what the injury is, But I don't think it's going to be serious. I hope not, anyway."
Losing the likes of Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone, Tampa Bay knows what it takes to play without key players.But losing your Vezina candidate goalie could be a game changer for the Lightning, who currently sit third in the Eastern Conference.
"Just another hurdle for our team" Matt Carle told the Times of Bishop's injury. "If it's serious, it's just another one of those things that we'll have to deal with."
Earlier in the week, the Denver native learned that he wouldn't be one of the three American goaltenders to represent the U.S.A in this winter's Sochi Olympic Games. With a 22-5-3 record, three shutouts and a .935 SV %, Bishop could still be a contender if one of the three named players can not make it. As of now it has been speculated that Buffalo's Ryan Miller will hold the starting position for the U.S. men's team while Jonathan Quick and Jimmy Howard stay ready to play if needed.
Having already gone through X-rays, the 27-year old goalie will be re-evaluated Monday.