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Extent of Burke's injury unknown
By TOM JONES
Published October 30, 2005
ATLANTA - Lightning goalie Sean Burke was not supposed to play Saturday night in Atlanta.
Now the Lightning isn't sure when he will play again.
Burke injured his groin during Saturday's morning skate and will be re-evaluated Monday in Tampa. The Lightning called up Brian Eklund from minor-league Springfield to serve as John Grahame's backup Saturday.
Burke was injured stepping on a puck during a breakaway drill.
"I didn't see it sitting there in the crease," Burke said. "I was going one way and the (right) leg slid the other. It's not something that would normally happen. It gave way where I wasn't expecting."
Burke said he wasn't sure how serious the injury is.
"It felt like I did something," Burke said. "I don't know if it's a strain or whatever. ... It didn't feel good, I know that. I also played (Friday) night and maybe there is a bit of a cramp in there as well. It's hard to know. It needs a day or so to settle down and (then it will be) evaluated."
Burke has had a history of groin injuries throughout his 17-year career, but none have been serious.
"The biggest concern is we have now is the unknown," Lightning general manager Jay Feaster said. "We don't know the severity of it."
UP AGAINST IT: Calling up Eklund, who is making the NHL minimum of $450,000, has put the Lightning right up against the salary cap.
"Right now," Feaster said, "We're something like 49,800-some-odd dollars from the cap."
That means if the Lightning suffered an injury on, say, defense, it would not have the room to bring up a replacement unless it sent a player down to the minors.
Eklund is up with the Lightning on emergency recall, meaning he must go back to Springfield as soon as Burke is ready to play.
Eklund was 3-2 with a 4.06 goals-against average and an .890 save percentage in Springfield.
JOHNNY USA: Grahame is on the list of goalie candidates being considered for the United States Olympic team.
USA Hockey has not released the list, but Atlanta general manager Don Waddell, who also is Team USA's general manager, confirmed Grahame is on the list. It was thought that Grahame was not under consideration because he was not invited to an Olympic camp last August. But Waddell dispelled that rumor.
"We've said all along," Waddell said, "that we're going to base it on how guys start. And he is on our list."
Other goalies believed to be on Team USA's radar include the Islanders' Rick DiPietro, Philadelphia's Robert Esche, Buffalo's Ryan Miller and Edmonton's Ty Conklin.
MISCELLANY: Defenseman Mike Egener, considered a candidate for the sixth defenseman spot during training camp, has been demoted from the Lightning's AHL affiliate in Springfield to its ECHL affiliate in Johnstown. ... Forwards Chris Dingman and Martin Cibak were healthy scratches for the fifth consecutive game.