TAMPA, Fla. -- Perhaps the most intriging bit of intrigue at practice today in Amalie Arena is what's up with Lightning center Tyler Johnson.
The head Triplet was late to practice and was not available to the media afterward because he was getting treatment according to Tampa officials. He hasn't scored in the last five games and Vladislav Namestnikov took some of shifts in practice today. Hmmmm.
"Guys go through the rollercoaster ride. I don't know anybody that can score at a pace that he was going on," said coach Jon Cooper. "... He's such a huge part of our team. There's not an ounce of worry about the fact that he's not scoring. We rely on him so much. I think I made the comment yesterday he's been so good that when he doesn't score, it's almost the alarm goes off. That's a tribute to how he's risen in this league. But not a worry. That kid's a winner."
Johnson took a hard hit from Chicago's Brent Seabrook in Game One and endured some physical play from the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference final. There doesn't appear to be any concern he'll miss Game Two Saturday night but it's pretty clear he's not playing at 100 percent either.
---Hawks forward Bryan Bickell practiced Friday and said he had passed concussion testing. Then Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Bickell didn't have to because he didn't have a concussion. Riiiiiiight. In any event, Bickell is almost certainly out again for Game Two.
"It's something that comes and goes," Bickell told a group of reporters. "It could come after I'm done talking to you. I don't know."
---Quenneville also said he'll likely stay with his same defensemen, although rookie Trevor van Riemsdyk is ready to play. The thinking is that van Riemsdyk, who had wrist surgery and has not played since November, would be better suited to go in Game Three Monday night in the United Center because Quennville can control matchups there.