Tampa Bay goaltender Ben Bishop practiced with his teammates at the morning skate Monday but would not say whether he will start Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks. Bishop twice had to leave Game 2, a series-tying 4-3 victory for the Lightning at home on Saturday, because of an undisclosed problem.
Bishop participated in a news conference Monday at the United Center but shed no light on the nature of the illness or injury that forced him out of Game 2.
“I’m not going to be much help to you guys right now,” he told the assembled reporters.
Asked if he feels well enough to play tonight, he said, “We’ll see.” Bishop also said he had in mind a time by which he’d have to decide if he can play, but he wouldn’t disclose that. Asked if he knew at that moment whether he’d be able to play, he declined comment.
No matter how the question was phrased, he avoided answering other than to say he’s always preparing to play. “I feel like Marshawn Lynch right now,” he said, referring to the Seattle Seahawks running back’s reluctant participation at the last Super Bowl media day, when Lynch repeatedly answered questions by saying, ‘I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”
Bishop, who is 12-9 with a 2.20 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 22 games, was replaced on Saturday by rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who got the win in relief. Speculation over what ailed Bishop has included intestinal woes, dehydration and a possible knee injury. Bishop wouldn’t specify whether he had been bothered by an injury or an illness.
Lightning Coach Jon Cooper said he hadn’t talked to the team’s trainers before he met the media and so did not know if Bishop will be able to start. “I don’t know who’s starting. I will find out after this media session,” Cooper said. “We have two capable goalies that we have 100% confidence in who is going to play.
“One of them is playing. It’s Vasi or Bish. That will be determined tonight.”