Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop, who missed Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final because of an undisclosed injury, practiced with his team Saturday morning, hours before Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.
He said there was "progress being made" toward his recovery but said he was not sure if he will play Saturday night at Amalie Arena. The Lightning and Blackhawks are tied at two games each.
"It's an extremely tough decision to make," he said after the team's morning skate.
Bishop was injured during Game 2 and had to leave twice in favor of rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Bishop played and won Game 3 but had to yield to Vasilevskiy in Game 4, which the Blackhawks won, 2-1. NHL policy allows teams and players to be vague about injuries.
"I hope I have a decision to make between him and Andrei," Coach Jon Cooper said. "That would be great."
Bishop said he would have to talk to Cooper before making the decision on whether he will start. He said he expected that chat to take place well before the game.
"It's ours," Bishop said of the decision. "It's not one person saying one thing. It's a conversation between all of the parties. A decision gets made. I mean, it's not one person saying one thing. But it's a conversation."
Bishop said he’s trying to carefully tread the line between his desire to play and knowing that as much as he wants to be in net he could hurt the team if he’s at less than 100% effectiveness.
"You have to do what's best for the team," said Bishop, who has a 2.19 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 23 playoff games this spring. "This time of the year it's all about the team and wins. It's not about personal accolades at all."
That said, he acknowledged it was “terrible” for him to watch Game 4, in which Vasilevskiy stopped 17 of 19 shots.
"I was more nervous for that game I'm not playing than for any game," Bishop said. "I thought Vasi came in and did a great job. He did everything he needed to do. I thought he played a great game. We had a chance to win that game.
"It's a tough spot to put a kid in like that. You can see why he's going to be as good as he is."
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