Victor Hedman could play tonight for the Tampa Bay Lightning, and more on Krajicek
The Tampa Bay Lightning had an optional morning skate today at the Scottrade Center before tonight's game with the Blues, and defenseman Victor Hedman skated and sounded as if he was ready to play. The rookie missed Thursday's 3-0 loss to the Red Wings with a bruised left foot.
He said he had X-rays that were negative.
"Usually after 24 hours, the pain starts to decrease," said Hedman, who was hurt during Wednesday's practice by a shot from teammate Kurtis Foster.
Asked if he will play, Hedman, who has a good sense of humor, said, "If the coach picks me."
Let's put it this way: with Lukas Krajicek demoted to AHL Norfolk, Tampa Bay is down to seven defensemen. So, as coach Rick Tocchet said, "If he can play, I'll play him. He's a guy, as much as he's an 18-year-old guy, we need his puck-moving ability."
As well as his 22:13 of average ice time.
"It's up to Victor," Tocchet said. "He looked pretty good skating today. He's a tough kid."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Looks as if Antero Niittymaki will get the start in net. ... Tocchet said Steve Downie is questionable for tonight's game. Downie, who missed Thursday's game, smashed his head against the ice when he slipped and fell while throwing a punch Tuesday at Nashville's Shea Weber. Originally, Tocchet said it was not a concussion but on Friday made it sound as if some symptoms are indicating otherwise, but no official word. ... Forward Jeff Halpern received 12 stitches in his mouth Thursday when he was hit by a puck, but he also had some bridge work done as he apparently lost several teeth. On the same shift on which he was hit with the puck, Halpern said he was checked into the corner boards and the edge of his helmet drove into the top of his left eye, leaving a bruise on his eyelid and forehead. ... Red Wings leading points man Henrik Zetterberg will be out at least two weeks with a mild separation of his left shoulder. Zetterberg was knocked out of the game Thursday by a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit by Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund.
More on Krajicek: Tocchet didn't have much sympathy for Krajicek, who was sent to AHL Norfolk on Friday, the day before the holiday roster freeze that runs through Dec. 27. The coach did not make reference to specific plays, but he also didn't much like the results on defense either. Krajicek's turnover in defensive zone Thursday led to a Red Wings goal.
"What does he have, one assist," Tocchet said. "I don't think he's played as well as he can, and it's not just him. The thing is, when you're not scoring goals, you can't be at the scene of the crime too many times. That's not just Luke but other guys. When you're not producing you can't have your fingerprints at the scene of the crime: I was the guy who gave it away or missed my check and I'm not getting it done on the other end."
On Krajicek not picking up his game after being put on waivers: "Any player when you come to a crossroads, there are plenty of stories of guys who are put on waivers and sat out a bunch of games or traded a couple of times, all of a sudden they see a light, and that's what you hope for for certain hockey players. You try to send those messages, 'I'm not doing enough. I'm not getting it done. I got to change whatever, off ice on ice.' And there are a lot of stories of guys who have been successful doing it."
And, finally, a good quote from Tocchet on the team's lack of scoring: "You wonder why certain guys go into certain positions when there is a better position to score a goal. And not just from first-year players but guys who have scored in the past. Get in situations where the puck is going to be. If you continue to go there 10 times a game, go there. Keep going there. It's eventually going to come. Don't go there once or twice, and then, finally, you're not there and the puck squirts there. I just think we're in a situation now, if you've got to put the puck in your teeth and dive in the net, that's what you've got to do. That's what it takes and we're at that point right now. What is it, we've been shut out four times in the last 10 games? That's a tough stat to swallow as a coach."