TAMPA, Fla. — A day after Steven Stamkos failed to receive medical clearance to compete in the Winter Olympics, another member of the Tampa Bay Lightning will miss out on the festivities.
The team announced Friday that center Valtteri Filppula sustained a non-displaced fracture of his right ankle in Thursday night’s loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Filppula, who was scheduled to represent Finland in Sochi, will be out three weeks.
"It’s tough, obviously," Filppula said at Tampa Bay Times Forum. "I was really looking forward to going and playing. … I don’t know. I don’t really know what to say. It’s tough right now, but something positive — it wasn’t too bad of a break. I should be back pretty soon after the Olympics. That’s a good thing.
"Unfortunately, it’s part of the sport, so now somebody else has a chance to go to play."
Filppula said the injury occurred in the third period after he tried to place weight on the ankle. He took a puck to his right leg in the first period and seemed normal until leaving early in the 4-1 loss.
The 29-year-old was seen walking on crutches after Tampa Bay’s Friday practice. This would have been his second Olympics. He played for Finland in the 2010 Vancouver Games where he earned a bronze medal.
Signed as a free agent last July, the former Detroit Red Wings forward has been a strong addition to the Lightning this season. He’s second on the team in points (41) and goals (20). He had earned points in three of his last six games.
"It’s no different than (Steven) Stamkos," said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, referencing Stamkos missing the Olympics for Team Canada. "Obviously, the difference is Stammer has had three months to somewhat prepare for this. Fil has had less than 12 hours to prepare for this, so I know he was looking forward to going. He really enjoyed his experience in Vancouver four years ago. It’s a tough break, literally."
Meanwhile, the Lightning announced goaltender Ben Bishop is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Cedrick Desjardins replaced him at the start of the third period Thursday.
Tampa Bay hosts Detroit on Saturday before breaking for the Olympics. The Lightning resume play Feb. 27 on the road against the Nashville Predators.