Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund could be out longer than expected after knee surgery

TAMPA — Lightning D Mattias Ohlund might be out six weeks or more, GM Steve Yzerman said Thursday.

That's bad news for a struggling defense, and it makes the uncertainty about D Eric Brewer's mystery injury more acute.

Ohlund, off skates since Sept. 30 after arthroscopic surgery on both knees to clean out "loose bodies," originally was to be sidelined four to six weeks.

"But in light of having been 'scoped and talking with the doctors, we're thinking more likely six weeks and potentially a little longer," Yzerman said.

Brewer, whose MRI exam Wednesday and absence from practice sparked all kinds of intrigue, played against the Islanders and was named first star with four blocked shots and four hits.

Before the game, coach Guy Boucher said the defenseman "had to take care of some swelling" and "he's going to be okay."

Brewer said his condition "may or may not" be associated with surgeries he had in December 2008 and April 2009 for a herniated disc. He said last season that he still felt the effects.

"I could have practiced (Wednesday)," said Brewer, who declined to say if he had treatment. "I just wanted to throw a few questions by some people."

Asked for specifics, Boucher said, "It's a low body (injury), high body or whatever. It's just part of his body."

"I don't really feel any worse than I have," said Brewer, 32. "I just think I can feel a little better. I'm not scared of anything or worried about anything. … You just have to stay on top of things."

SITTING: LW Ryan Shannon played "really well" Monday against the Panthers, Boucher said. Even so, Shannon, with RW Mattias Ritola, was scratched Thursday as part of a continuing rotation of 14 forwards.

"He doesn't deserve to be taken out," Boucher said of Shannon. "I only (can use) 12 forwards. That's the experiment. We need to know about some players, and we're only going to know if we put them in, so he's kind of paying for it."

Rookie RW Brett Connolly played his seventh game. He can play two more before it must be decided whether to send him back to juniors or allow the clock to start on his three-year, $2.7 million contract.

Forwards Tom Pyatt and Blair Jones also played after sitting out Monday.

"Whether it brings wins or losses, we have to go through the experiment," Boucher said.

SWITCH: Boucher put wings Teddy Purcell and Ryan Malone with Steven Stamkos instead of Vinny Lecavalier, and Marty St. Louis and Connolly with Lecavalier instead of Stamkos.

The lines combined for three goals and seven points.

"If you want things to happen, you have to make it happen," Boucher said. "We waited long enough with the lines and the chemistry we were trying to get."

ODDS AND ENDS: Ch. 44 will broadcast three games — Oct. 29 and April 7 against the Jets and Nov. 19 against the Devils — meaning all 82 regular-season games will be televised. … D Scott Jackson (knee) is on waivers so he can be sent to AHL Norfolk. … Thursday was the 15th anniversary of the first game at the St. Pete Times Forum, a 5-2 win over the Rangers. … The Times Forum's Tesla coils, which are to shoot "lightning" about 20 feet to celebrate goals, still are not working. … D Bruno Gervais was also scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund could be out longer than expected after knee surgery 10/20/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 1:28am]

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