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This is not a drill: Amid bizarre scene, Lightning hopeful Bishop can play tonight in Game Five

TAMPA, Fla. -- There were some bizarre shenanigans Saturday in the NHL's official media interview room for the Stanley Cup final after the Tampa Bay Lightning's morning  skate.

Injured goalie Ben Bishop took the skate and looked, frankly, like he has all week. That is, slow in the crease, struggling to get up and down. Still, he was in the net usually used by the starter in the monring. Will Bishop or 20-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy play tonight? That was the only question anyone had in mind for coach Jon Cooper.

"I don't know," Cooper said. "To be honest, I didn't see him since he got off the ice. I'm hoping. I hope I have a decision to make between him and Andrei."

At that point, when it was time for other questions, there were none and Cooper scooted off the podium. Several reporters, however, say they weren't acknowledged by NHL and Lightning officials, and started barking at them when Bishop came to speak a couple minutes later.

Said a smiling Bishop, in breaking up the scene: "Can't we all just get along here guys?"

As for where he stands with his injuried groin/hip/whatever, Bishop simply said, "There's progress being made."

Bishop said he would be meeting with Cooper shortly after leaving the interview room but the world likely won't know the result until the pregame warmups.

"It's not one person saying one thing. It's a conversation between all parties and a decision gets made," Bishop said.

Bishop said the decision is a fine line between wanting to play in a pivotal Game Five and worrying about his effectiveness.

"You have to do what's best for the team," Bishop said. "This time of the year, it's all about the team wins."

What was it like for Bishop to watch Game Four in Chicago?

"It was terrible. I was more nervous for that game not playing than any game. I thought 'Vasi' came in and did a great job. ... It's a tough spot to put a kid in like that but you see why he’s going to be as good as he is."

Bishop said Vasilevskiy's learning curve took a big jump by the fact he has relieved in Game Two and played in Game Four.

"He’s probably a little bit more prepared now," Bishop said. "He’s a young kid but he’s been through a lot. He’s obviously played some big games, obviously none bigger than the last one. He comes in with a good resume. You see why he’s as good as he is. Anybody would be nervous in that case but he did a good job."

One last point: Bishop said "I certainly hope so" when asked if he thought he would play at some point in this series, as Cooper insisted earlier in the week in Chicago.

 

 

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