Heward slowly mending after concussion
It was good to see defenseman Jamie Heward walking around the locker room after Tuesday's morning skate, talking and laughing with teammates. Last we saw Heward was Jan. 2, and he was explaining the awful symptoms of his concussion, the day after he was crunched head-first and from behind into the boards by Washington's Alex Ovechkin.
Heward did his first physical activity Tuesday, finishing what he jokingly called "seven solid minutes on the (stationary) bike."
Heward said the goal was to get his heart rate to 100 to see how he would react to the heavier blood flow. So far, so good. Heward said the nausea and headaches he had have pretty much gone away, though he is left with a a fogginess that gets worse as he tries to think -- "Probably not good for the controlled breakout," he said -- and large gaps in his memory. Heward said he still has no recollection of the entire day he was hurt. He said he remembers turning off the television in the team's Washington hotel after watching the New Year's ball drop. The next thing he recalls is waking up in the hospital the evening of Jan. 1.
He said he has watched the play on video so as to jog his memory. "I really want to remember that day," Heward said.
As for watching the play in which Ovechkin not only crashes Heward in to the boards but drives his head forward with an elbow, Heward said, "The first time I watched it, it kind of creeped me out. ... I know it totally wasn't his fault. He's in a perfect spot and my head is at a bad angle If my head is up a little bit more, maybe he catches my shoulder and turns me into the boards instead of hitting me straight into the boards."
Heward said he hasn't heard from Ovechkin, his former teammate. He said his goal is to play again this season and and called the entire situation "unfortunate. I'd like to be part of the team's success of late. Th watch from the sidelines is frustrating, but at my age and at the stage of my career, I have to take care of it and make sure it doesn't get any worse."
Other stuff from this morning: Mike Smith starts in goal. ... Wing Adam Hall will be scratched. ... Defenseman Paul Ranger is back in the lineup after missing five games with an upper body injury. "I'm excited. I just want to play," Ranger said. "It was frustrating the past couple of weeks. I just want to come in and provide any additional help I can." ... Right wing Evgeny Artyukhin returns after serving a two-game suspension for a knee-to-knee hit on Florida's Ville Peltonen. "That was an accident the last time," Artyukhin said. "I'm going to play the same way I played before. I'm not going to change my game." ... Forward Jussi Jokinen is up to 28 games without a goal. ... Still hurt: Marek Malik (ankle), Matt Smaby (lower body) and forward Paul Szczechura (lower body). Goaltender Olie Kolzig had an MRI Thursday on his ailing left arm. He said he is waiting a second opinion on the results.