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Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014
Tampa Bay Lightning

Bolts Notes: Defensemen going down will test depth

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MONTREAL — Lost in the loss of star C Steven Stamkos to injury were the injuries to defensemen Sami Salo and Keith Aulie.

Salo left during the second period of Monday’s game after being hit behind the net by Boston C Carl Soderberg. Salo was unable to put any weight on his right leg as he left the ice and was not in the lineup on Tuesday. The team classified Salo’s injury as lower body.

Aulie left Monday’s game two shifts into the third with an unspecified upper-body injury believed to be his right arm or hand area. Aulie was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Monday, which means he will have to sit out at least a week.

With the injuries depleting the lineup, Tampa Bay called up RW J.T. Brown and D Dmitry Korobov from Syracuse of the American Hockey League.

Brown was in the lineup on the second line against Montreal, while Korobov was a healthy scratch.

This is the second NHL stint for Brown, who played the final five games of the 2011-12 season with the Lightning after signing as a free agent out of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, recording one assist. But Lightning assistant general manager Julien BriseBois, who also serves as Syracuse general manager, said Brown, who has four goals and 10 points with a plus-5 rating in 13 games with Syracuse this season, is a better player now than when he came out of college.

“Our long playoff run in Syracuse last year gave him a chance to really get back into a groove and start contributing,’’ BriseBois said. “This season, he has been really good, he’s been one of our best forwards. He plays a strong two-way game, he is responsible, he has speed, he has really improved his shot over the last year, so he is more of a threat now to score goals and his game is just coming into maturity.”

The loss of Salo takes the point person on the power play out of the lineup, as well as 20-minute-a-night top-pairing defenseman.

“I think that is one that is tough, because he’s a 20-minute, veteran defenseman in this league, and of any of the positions, that’s a big guy to lose,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “But that’s why we have a little bit of depth, that’s why we have carried eight defensemen this year. These guys have played, they know how to play, and structurally it’s not going to change a lot of things.”

Secret to success

During his morning session with the Montreal media, Cooper was asked what led to his success as he made his way up the ranks, winning titles at every stop.

“I’ll save that one for the book, just in case this coaching thing doesn’t work out,” he joked. “But I’ll be honest, and I’ve been very fortunate to be in situations where I’ve been able to surround myself with really good people. You don’t do this yourself.”

He slipped in a second line that had the assembled media laughing out loud when he added: “Now if you ask my wife, she will tell you that you have to have an understanding wife, a loyal dog, and one helluva a goalie. So you’ll take either one.”

Nuts and Bolts

LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Salo and Korobov were scratched. ... LW Ryan Malone has two goals in the past three games after recording one in the first 15 games.

Erik Erlendsson

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