A pair of scary incidents in near identical spots on the ice marred AHL Norfolk's game against Grand Rapids on Friday night.
Late in the first period, Norfolk forward and Lightning prospect Radek Smolenak got knocked over, forcing his skate up into the air. The blade of Smolenak's skate clipped the neck of referee Chris Cozzan, opening up a gash. The medical staffs for both teams scrambled to attend to Cozzan, who was taken off the ice on a stretcher after about 10 minutes. An update on the AHL Web site Sunday said Cozzan underwent surgery and was expected to make a full recovery.
Then about six minutes into the second period, Norfolk D Brent Henley checked Grand Rapids F Ryan Oulahen, which forced Oulahen's skate to get caught in the boards and wrenched his body at such a severe angle that his femur bone reportedly snapped and was showing through his skin.
"It was definitely strange," F Brandon Bochenski said. "The referee, they brought the stretcher out and started working on him right there; they had the IV bags out. And usually I'm not good with blood and that kind of stuff and there was quite a pool on the ice.
"Then in the second period in almost the same exact spot, the stretcher came right back out on the ice. It just seemed like one of those things that make you realize there is more to life than this game."
It also made it a task to get through the remainder of a game eventually won 2-1 by Grand Rapids.
"I think both teams did pretty good finishing the game. I mean, things did soften up a little bit, but both teams played hard," Bochenski said.
THANK YOU, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER: With D Matt Smaby out with a lower-body injury and C Paul Szczechura missing his fourth consecutive game with a lower-body injury, the Lightning once again summoned upon Norfolk to help fill the void left by injuries.
Tampa Bay recalled Bochenski from the Admirals, which made him the 49th player this season to appear in a game for the Lightning when he joined the line with C Vinny Lecavalier and LW Vinny Prospal.
Bochenski leads Norfolk with 27 goals in 69 games and is second on the team with 53 points. He had appeared in 121 NHL games prior to Sunday, scoring 24 goals to go with 54 points.
OFF TO CAMP: Shortly after the NHL regular season ends April 12, Lightning G Karri Ramo will attend training camp for Team Finland in preparation for the World Championships, scheduled to begin April 24 in Switzerland.
Ramo, who attended camp with Finland last year, is competing for one of the three goaltending positions, but his chances of making the team might hinge on the playoff fate of two NHL teams - Minnesota and Nashville - that have No. 1 goaltenders in Nicklas Backstrom and Pekke Rinne.