TAMPA — Two days after he was knocked unconscious by an elbow to the jaw from Canadiens D Douglas Murray, Lightning D Mike Kostka still had no recollection of the incident.
But he sustained a concussion, has no timetable for a return, and Murray received a three-game league suspension that will cost $23,076.93 in salary for the hit as Kostka carried the puck late in the third period of Tuesday's 3-1 Tampa Bay victory.
It's no surprise, then, Kostka was eager to see a replay. "A pretty nasty, scary-looking hit," he said Thursday.
In his first public statements since the hit, Kostka said he felt pretty good, all things considered. And coach Jon Cooper said, "If I didn't know any better, I would say he could have been on the ice (Thursday)."
Kostka had dizziness but said he was sleeping well and had no problems with lights or sound, two things that can bother those with post-concussion syndrome.
He said it took him about 20 minutes after he skated off under his own power "to where I realized what was going on." And he called "a classy move" the apologetic text he said Murray sent after the game.
"I don't think (the hit) was malicious or anything like that," Kostka said. "Needless to say, it was still a bad hit."
Kostka said he watched the replay because, in part, "I wanted to see if there was anything I could have done differently to not put myself in that position."
"It happened so quickly," he said. "When you're moving that quickly and it's an inch here or an inch there, those things are going to happen. I know the league is doing everything it can to crack down on it. You just have to trust they continue and it works."
'BARBS' UP: With Kostka out, rookie Mark Barberio got the call against the Flames and was paired with D Eric Brewer. Barberio, 24, had been scratched in 10 of the team's previous 11 games, his only action coming in Sunday's 3-2 loss at Detroit in which he had three shots on goal and two scoring chances. "You don't want to see anyone get hurt, especially the way Kostka got hurt," said Barberio, who was minus-2 Thursday with two giveaways in 15:45 of ice time. "But that's why we have extra guys in practice ready to go in case there is an injury, so they can step in and make a seamless transition."
TICKETS: Single-game playoff tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today at the Tampa Bay Times Forum box office and via Ticketmaster (outlets, ticketmaster.com, toll-free 1-800-745-3000).
CANCER FIGHT: The Lightning hosted the 14th annual Tampa Bay Fights Cancer night. About 2,000 cancer kids, families and caregivers attended the game courtesy of Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid and his Yerrid Foundation.
ODDS AND ENDS: Tom Kurvers, who directs the Lightning's college scouting and is senior adviser to GM Steve Yzerman, was added to the U.S. team advisory group for the world championship in May. … LW Ondrej Palat, with his 20th goal, joined Tyler Johnson (23), Steven Stamkos (23) and Brad Richards (21) as Lightning rookies to reach that mark. … Forwards Cody Kunyk, Richard Panik and Tom Pyatt, and D Keith Aulie also were scratched.