TAMPA — G Ben Bishop will have surgery next week to repair a torn ligament in his right wrist.
Bishop initially injured the wrist during warm-ups on Jan. 5 in Edmonton, then felt the ligament snap against Toronto on Feb. 6.
Bishop played through the injury by wearing a cast for the remainder of the season and finished with a franchise-record 37 victories.
The surgery will be done by Thomas Graham at the Cleveland Clinic. Rehabilitation is expected to take up to four months and Bishop will wear a cast for the first six weeks.
“My golf game is going to suffer,” Bishop joked. “But it needs to get fixed. It was a pain in the butt all year.”
In addition to the wrist, Bishop missed the first-round playoff series against Montreal with a dislocated left elbow suffered April 8 against Toronto after he fell to the ice diving for a puck. During the next intermission, Bishop said, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos came into the trainer’s room and gave the goaltender a hug when it became apparent Bishop would not be ready to start the playoffs.
“It popped out, and they popped it back in again back in the locker room ... it didn’t feel very good,” Bishop said. “Stammer came in to see me in between periods and I actually started crying because I knew I had worked hard all year to get (to the playoffs) and I wouldn’t be ready for the first round. It was tough then, and it’s tough now.”
Lightning coach Jon Cooper praised Bishop and hinted that the goalie played through an ankle injury as well.
“When he wasn’t injured, pretty much up to the pre-Olympic break, he was an elite goaltender in this league,” Cooper said. “After he started getting banged up, I think you saw his game drop off a little, but it was still exceptional. It just wasn’t where he had been before. ... And we can gripe about getting swept in the first round, but without Bish we probably wouldn’t even have been in the first round.”
RW Ryan Callahan, acquired from the New York Rangers in the deal that sent Marty St. Louis to the Rangers, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Callahan was impressed with the Lightning and likes the direction the team is heading, but he made no guarantees he will return to Tampa Bay next season.
“You want to be on a team where the organization is going in the right direction. You can definitely see they are doing that this year with the amount of young talent,” Callahan said. “There are a lot of things that weigh into it — how your family likes it, how good the team is, and obviously there is that financial part of it, too.”
Cooper would like to have Callahan back.
“I really, really hope that Ryan considers us a place he wants to spend the rest of his career,” Cooper said.
C Valtteri Filppula admitted he was bothered by an injury in the playoff series, but he did not use it as an excuse for his lack of production.
After setting a career high with 25 goals in the regular season, Filppula had only one point in four games against Montreal.
Filppula missed the Olympics in February with a non-displaced fracture in his ankle, then sat out the final two games of the regular season with an undisclosed lower-body injury. He would not give the exact nature of the most recent injury.
“It doesn’t really matter, I was fine to play,” said Filppula, who had one assist and was minus-4. “I played, and I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, but I felt fine.”
Stamkos starts sooner
Normally, Stamkos would begin his summer training about a month after the season ends. But after suffering a broken leg in November, he will start a little earlier.
“I want to make sure that I start strengthening (the leg) to just get full range of how I was feeling before the injury,” he said.
Several Lightning players have been contacted by their countries about participating in next month’s world championships in Belarus.
LW Ondrej Palat, who missed a game in the playoffs with an upper-body injury, and Filppula declined invitations from the Czech Republic and Finland, respectively, because of injuries. D Victor Hedman, who was left off Team Sweden for the Olympics, will not play. RW Richard Panik, who represented Slovakia at the Olympics, will play.
Matt Carle and Nate Thompson, both of whom represented the United States last year, will not attend, but Tyler Johnson will play for the U.S. team.
Carle and his wife are expecting a baby.