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Blocked shot brings Tampa Bay Lightning's Brett Clark major pain

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Brett Clark said the only thing that will help his condition is time — and lots and lots of ice.

The Lightning defenseman, in the third period of Monday's victory over the Hurricanes, blocked a shot from Sergei Samsonov "where it hurts," as coach Guy Boucher described it.

And though a postgame precautionary trip to the hospital revealed no damage — "They counted. There are still two," Boucher joked — Clark said he has plenty of discomfort, though not enough to keep him out of Wednesday's game with the Islanders.

"It's still pretty sore," he said before the game. "It's one of those areas you can't really mess with. It's going to take some time."

The block, Clark's team-best 69th, was the most painful of his career, he said, and "the one that lingers the most. But it's all part of the game. You have to work through it."

Asked if there were words to describe the initial jolt of pain, Clark, who played 19:54 against New York and blocked a shot, said no. "There are no words. It's excruciating at the time. It lingers for a long time."

As for treatment, he said, "Just ice, that's all you can do. Nature has to take its course."

TRACKING KUBINA: When the Lightning during the summer signed D Pavel Kubina to a two-year, free-agent contract, one of the selling points was he would bring offense.

But Kubina has one goal and is without one in 31 games, and his nine points have him on track for 22, his lowest output since 2002-03.

"The numbers should be better for sure," Kubina said. "I'm working on my shot every day. I just have to get shots through."

It didn't help that Kubina was demoted from the first power-play unit. But opportunities should increase with the second unit now that C Vinny Lecavalier and LW Simon Gagne are back from injury and Boucher wants the second unit as aggressive as the first.

"I have to help the team more offensively, for sure," said Kubina, who had 38, 40 and 40 points his past three seasons, respectively.

"But we've been playing some pretty good hockey, and we're a playoff team, and that's what's keeping me happy. That's what I'm worried about. Sometimes they don't go in, but you can still help defensively."

HEARING AID: F Mattias Ritola said the new earplugs he wore on the flight from Tampa to New York seemed to have helped curtail the ringing in his right ear that is part of Meneire's disease.

Ritola said he still had ringing but it was much reduced.

"I'm shocked how good I can hear a day after we flew," he said.

Ritola said the combination of new medication and earplugs has greatly reduced the effects of the disease, which causes ringing, corresponding loss of hearing and dizziness.

"It's definitely progress," he said.

ODDS AND ENDS: Two of the Islanders' seven wins this season are against the Lightning. … The announced attendance of 7,324 was a season and post-lockout low at Nassau Coliseum. … Ritola was scratched, but Boucher said it had nothing to do with his condition. … LW Johan Harju also was scratched.

Blocked shot brings Tampa Bay Lightning's Brett Clark major pain 12/22/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 22, 2010 11:38pm]
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