Breaking: Lightning forward to miss start of 2018-2019 season after surgery.

Lightning forward out for a significant length of time.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have just made a very significant announcement.

In a surprising update the Lightning announced on Thursday that veteran forward Ryan Callahan would miss the next 5 months following a surgical procedure that took place earlier today. According to the Lightning Callahan went under the knife to repair damage to his injured shoulder, but of course the length of time required for his recovery is the big story here. 

We are effectively at the beginning of the month of June and a 5 month recovery period would push back Callahan's return from injury to November at the earliest. That means that not only will Callahan miss the start of the 2018-2019 National Hockey League regular season, but that additionally he will miss all of training camp and the preseason as well. Not to mention a significant injury of this nature will also likely significantly impact his offseason preparation, if not make it entirely impossible for him to properly prepare for the upcoming season.

It's a tough break for a veteran forward who's past two seasons have been marred by significant injuries, Callahan missed 64 games during the 2016-2017 NHL regular season due to a surgical procedure he went to repair his damaged hip,and you have to wonder how long he's been dealing with this particular injury prior to going under the knife. In December of 2017 Callahan suffered a significant injury to his arm when he got tangled up with Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson resulting in Ekman-Larsson falling on Callahan's arm. Callahan would miss several games following that injury and at the time the Lightning said he would be reevaluated after roughly a month, could this moment be the genesis of Callahan's current injury? If so it would mean that the former New York Rangers captain played a rather significant portion of this season with a pretty severe injury limiting him the entire way. 

It's especially tough for Callahan, who is 33 years of age, these are likely the final years of his physical prime as a hockey player and to suffer so many significant injuries at this stage of his career is robbing him of time he will never have back. Add to that the fact that you body recovers less and less effectively as you age and Callahan may also be adding wear on to his body that will prevent him from playing as effectively in the past. 

The veteran winger has long been a fan favorite in Tampa Bay and fans learning that he played through the better of an NHL season as well as the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs with such a massive injury will likely only add to the respect fans in that city have for him. It also puts his relatively mediocre season in an entirely different context, Callahan appeared in 67 games this season recording 5 goals and 13 assists for a total of 18 points but if he was playing with a badly damaged shoulder that likely had a significant impact on his ability to shoot and make plays with the puck.