Ben Bishop (Bill Smith/Getty Images)
Tampa Bay’s not making excuses, but both Tyler Johnson and Ben Bishop revealed serious injuries following their Stanley Cup final defeat. Johnson broke his right wrist early in the series while Bishop tore his groin in Game 2 and was risking a complete tear by playing further.
With the Stanley Cup final over and the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated, there was no point in goaltender Ben Bishop continuing to keep whatever injury was ailing him shrouded in secret. Following Game 6 of the final, Bishop told media that he suffered a torn groin in Game 2, an injury that forced him to miss the final moments of that game and miss Game 4 altogether.
Throughout the series, the running storyline had been surrounding Bishop’s injury and the questions regarding whether he would or would not be starting come game time. In Game 3, he was questionable, but got the nod from coach Jon Cooper. And though he didn’t start Game 4, he was back between the pipes for crucial Games 5 and 6.
“I couldn’t move,” Bishop told the Tampa Bay Tribune following Game 6. “It was one of those things where if I went out there, I could have torn it completely and I would have been done for the series.”
For playing through a torn groin, Bishop played remarkably in the final. Game 2, the game in which he suffered the injury, was the only contest he allowed more than two goals. Over the final three games he suited up for – including Game 3 when the injury would have been fresh – Bishop stopped 93 of 99 shots that came his way.
It was evident at times just how much pain Bishop was in, too. When he would move laterally in his crease, his struggles to get back to his feet were incredibly noticeable and, though Cooper tried to play it off as Bishop – who stands 6-foot-7 – simply having a further distance to go to get up, it was clear there was much more to it than that.
According to Bishop, the injury will not require surgery.
Bishop’s injury wasn’t the only one hindering the Lightning, though. If Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson seemed strangely ineffective through the last few games of the Stanley Cup final, there’s a good reason for that: he was playing through a broken right wrist, an injury he suffered during the series against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Johnson, who scored just one goal and two points in the six-game series, came into the final as one of the key players for the Lightning, but the injury stopped him from taking faceoffs and rendered one of the key cogs of Tampa Bay’s vaunted ‘Triplets’ line restricted.
"It's disappointing," Johnson told the Tampa Bay Times. "You want to give 100 percent, especially in situation like this, but are really not capable of doing that."
Nikita Kucherov, another member of the ‘Triplets’ line, was injured early in Game 5, but there’s been no word on what exactly knocked him out of that game. Kucherov did, however, suit up for Game 6.