Newspaper article The Canadian Press

As Bishop's Status Remains Murky, Vasilevskiy Embraces Stanley Cup Spotlight

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

As Bishop's Status Remains Murky, Vasilevskiy Embraces Stanley Cup Spotlight

Article excerpt

Vasilevskiy ready for Stanley Cup spotlight

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BRANDON, Fla. - More confident in his goaltending than his English, Andrei Vasilevskiy had one request of reporters Friday.

"No cameras," the young Russian said, wagging his finger to shoo away any stragglers.

Vasilevskiy is in hockey's brightest spotlight at the Stanley Cup final but isn't comfortable with his broken words being videotaped. Depending on the health of Tampa Bay Lightning teammate Ben Bishop, he may again be the centre of attention for Game 5 against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

Bishop missed Game 4 on Wednesday with an undisclosed injury and didn't practise Friday. His status is the biggest intrigue in the series with the Lightning and Blackhawks tied at two games apiece.

Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper called it part of the plan for Bishop to take the day off. What comes next is anyone's guess.

"We're going to play the guy that gives us the best chance to win the game, whoever that guy is," Cooper said. "If Ben Bishop can play a game, he's playing."

Vasilevskiy said after practice Friday he didn't know yet if he was starting. The Blackhawks will play the waiting game with everyone else.

"Tough to forecast that," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll see what happens. I know that we expected him to play last game."

Injuries often pile up this time of year. Lightning centre Tyler Johnson is battling something in his hand, arm or wrist -- he hasn't taken a faceoff since one in Game 2 -- but insists he's fine and has stayed in the lineup.

Bishop left Game 2 on June 6, started Game 3 Monday and missed Game. Amid all the uncertainly, Vasilevskiy is not just calm but enjoying living out a childhood dream.

"I'm here in North America just to play hockey," Vasilevskiy said Friday. "The last two days I have more fun than all season."

Vasilevskiy stopped 17 of 19 shots in Game 4 and felt good about his first start since March 31.

"I was ready for big pressure on me," he said.

The 20-year-old Vasilevskiy has been in pressure situations in the world junior championship and KHL playoffs. …

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