Tampa Bay Lightning D Victor Hedman on Crosby injury; and check Downie's eye
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said he was surprised when he watched a television sports network in Ottawa and heard his name mentioned as perhaps having caused Sidney Crosby's concussion.
Hedman said he hardly remembers the hit, and of what he does recall he does not believe he hit Crosby that hard. "I don't really remember the play," Hedman said of the hit Wednesday (actually more a push) from behind into the end boards at the Consol Energy Center during Pittsburgh's 8-1 win. "It was just a hit. I never am going to go in and try to hurt somebody. It's too bad he got a concussion. It wasn't on purpose. I'm sorry he got a concussion."
The question is did Hedman's hit cause the injury (Crosby actually played after the hit which was not to Crosby's head though it seemed his face hit the glass) or was it a result of a much more serious hit dished out by Washington's Dave Steckel during the Winter Classic? The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said the Penguins indicated the injury was caused in the game with Tampa Bay but did not identify the specific play.
Lightning players seemed to think Hedman's hit was too minor to have caused Crosby's concussion, even if it is characterized as mild by the Penguins. The way Hedman recalls his hit is, "I obviously laid into him. But it's just playing the game. So, it was a surprise (he was hurt). It's part of the game."
Either way, Crosby is out for about a week, and the debate has begun as to when he received his concussion. If it came against the Capitals and the Penguins allowed Crosby to play against Tampa Bay, that could raise some questions.
Other stuff from Friday's practice: Hedman hit his head on the ice when he was knocked down by Mattias Ohlund during one-on-one drills. Hedman said it is "nothing to worry about," and he will play Saturday against the Senators. ... Defenseman Randy Jones (neck/shoulder) practiced and sounds as if he will play. ... Wing Sean Bergenheim, apparently battling a respiratory illness the past three weeks, did not practice. ... Goaltender Mike Smith (knee) did not practice either, though he skated before practice using controlled movements. Smith had said he might practice Friday but said it was determined that there is no reason to rush, and that he could begin practicing when the team gets back home next week.
Finally, Steve Downie's eye. The thing just keeps getting blacker and more swollen. The injury, caused by his fight Tuesday with Washington's Matt Hendricks will not keep Downie out -- "I can see, enough," he said -- it sure looks painful. "Flying swelled it up pretty good," he said of the flight from Washington to Ottawa. "And it's a little blacker than I expected."