Updates from Monday, June 16
Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports Ryan Malone's plea from today's arraignment:
#tblightning wing Ryan Malone, facing charges of DUI and cocaine possession, entered written plea of not guilty for today's arraignment— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) June 16, 2014
Updates from Thursday, May 1
Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times updated the legal situation surrounding Ryan Malone following his arrest:
Lightning left wing Ryan Malone has pleaded not guilty to DUI and cocaine possession charges stemming from an April 12 arrest in Tampa. That case is ongoing, but on Wednesday the state in Hillsborough County court dismissed a charge of driving with a suspended license connected to an April 8 traffic stop, also in Tampa.
Updates from Monday, April 14
Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times provides a statement from Lightning head coach Jon Cooper discussing Ryan Malone's arrest:
Lightning coach Jon Cooper said he spoke to Ryan Malone and described the left wing as "probably a little embarrassed about what has gone on." But Cooper said the episode in which Malone early Saturday was arrested in Tampa and charged with DUI and cocaine possession will not distract the team as it enters the playoffs.
"Hockeywise we've had way more distractions worse than this one," Cooper said Sunday. "This is more of a life issue, more a friend of ours who we know is physically doing okay and hopefully the worst is over. As for hockey, this won't be a distraction at all for us."
A trying season for Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone got even worse Saturday morning as the 34-year-old was arrested on charges of driving under the influence and cocaine possession.
Has Malone played his final game as a member of the Lightning?
According to Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times, the arrest occurred at 5:40 a.m. ET in Tampa. It remains to be seen how this will impact Malone's playoff status, but Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman released a statement regarding the incident.
"We are aware of the situation concerning Ryan Malone this morning," Yzerman said. "Ryan will not travel with the team to Washington today, but beyond that we cannot comment further at this time."
We are aware of the situation this morning involving Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Malone. Under the terms of the collectively bargained joint NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, Mr. Malone is subject to mandatory evaluation and, if deemed necessary by the Program Doctors, treatment pursuant to the terms of that Program. His future playing status, both in the near term and during the Playoffs, will be determined in accordance the terms of our SABH Program.
My Fox Tampa Bay tweeted out Malone's mugshot:
Breaking: TB Lightning player Ryan Malone arrested overnight in Tampa. Charged with DUI and Poss. of Cocaine. pic.twitter.com/jyxqkTrTrV— FOX 13 Tampa Bay (@MyFoxTampaBay) April 12, 2014
Malone is in his sixth season with the Lightning after four productive years with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 6'4" left winger has netted 20 or more goals in a season on six occasions, but he has suffered through the worst campaign of his career this year.
He has just five goals and 15 points through 57 games. His role has been reduced significantly, and he has even been on the receiving end of several healthy scratches in recent games.
Tampa has clinched a playoff spot and could play the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. Malone may not have been used anyway, but there is no question that this situation hurts his chances of playing postseason hockey this year.
Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is hopeful that Malone can get his life back on track:
Very sorry to hear that Ryan Malone has been arrested on DUI and cocaine charges. Has a lot of good in him. Hope he gets rid of the demons.— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) April 12, 2014
Malone has another year left on his contract at a $4.5 million cap hit, but it wouldn't be shocking to see the Lightning use their remaining compliance buyout after doing so with Vincent Lecavalier last offseason.
It may also be difficult for Malone to find work elsewhere. His career was already winding down with his on-ice play dropping off significantly, but this would unquestionably be an awful way for him to go out.
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