Unclear whether Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman will play versus the Wild
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman skated during Monday's practice and participated fully. But coach Rick Tocchet sounded a lot like he could hold Hedman out of Thursday's game with the Wild as a precaution.
Hedman sustained a concussion Thursday on a ferocious check by Ottawa's Chris Neil, who Hedman said initially hit him in the chest but whose forearm or elbow came up and cracked him in the jaw.
Hedman, who said his only residual effect from the concussion is that he feels more tired than usual, will see a doctor today to see how his brain waves match up with the base line tests he took during training camp. If those are normal and Hedman reacts well to Monday's workout, the Lightning will have a decision to make.
"It's his first one and, obviously, I'd take the safer side of it if he felt pretty good," Tocchet said. "To me, he would have to feel real good. I don't know if pretty good will get him in the lineup, especially at this stage of his career and this stage of the season. If it was April, playoff game, pretty good might be good enough."
"We'll see how it goes if there are any complications," Hedman said. "If I feel anything from the practice, we'll see how it goes."
For whatever it's worth, Lukas Krajicek has been pretty good while he has filled in. As Tocchet said, give the guy credit. He was scratched in nine of the first 11 games, but has played four straight and in the last two has played 19:06 and 20:16.
"He's just been more engaged. He's making decisions," Tocchet said. "Luke's only issue is when he plays on his heels. That's when he's in trouble. He's been playing on his toes. You've got to give him credit. He sat out six, seven, eight, whatever games in a row and worked hard and didn't know his fate. But he's been a big help for us."
A problem time on defense has been Andrej Meszaros. With just two goals and three points and at minus-6, he, himself, admits he has struggled and needs to be better. Tocchet said he saw signs against the Canadiens against whom Meszaros had a shot and two hits in 18:58 of ice time. But he also had two giveaways, which speaks to his overall need for more consistency.
"I thought there were some steps taken in the right direction," Tocchet said of Meszaros play against Montreal. "He was a little feistier. He made a couple of open-ice hits. He was skating with the puck. He's strong enough and smart enough to be that kind of defenseman. We need him to be a guy who can play 20 minutes. He can't take minutes off."