Lightning star Nikita Kucherov out indefinitely with suspected lower-body injury

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Nikita Kucherov is going to miss some time with an injury. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Nikita Kucherov is going to miss some time with an injury. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Nikita Kucherov is set to miss more time in the regular season.

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper confirmed with reporters Monday that the star sniper will be out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury. It's believed to be a lower-body issue, potentially the groin or hip, which was either suffered or made worse in Saturday's 2-1 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals.

Kucherov missed the last half period and overtime in that game after coming up lame from minimal contact with Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway.

As expected, some fans are erroneously calling shenanigans after Kucherov infamously missed the entire regular season last year before returning just in time for the postseason, which he conquered with eight goals and 32 points in 23 games as the Lightning defended as Stanley Cup champions. The truth of the matter, though, is that the concessions Tampa Bay avoided last season with its lineup as Kucherov's money was buried on long-term injured reserve have already been made. Tampa is without Blake Coleman and Barclay Goodrow, who departed in free agency, and a stint on the injured list for Kucherov will not create the opportunity to bring in comparable talent. 

Instead, the Lightning will have to make do for an unspecified period of time without their leading point man, this time with a somewhat depleted lineup. However, like last season, the expectation should be that Kucherov will be back for when it matters the most. Only he won't have to stay on the sidelines until the end of the season to make that return. 

Kucherov had a goal and three assists through the first three games of the season. Tampa had bounced back from a listless effort on opening night with wins over the Red Wings and Capitals.

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