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Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund likely won't play this season

NEW YORK — Nobody is saying it, but it seems clear Mattias Ohlund will not play this season.

The Lightning defenseman has not played a regular-season game because of two bum knees, is not skating, and GM Steve Yzerman acknow­ledged Thursday there is no timetable for him to do so.

Ohlund contributes, though, as an ad hoc assistant coach. Beginning with the Jan. 20-21 road trip to Dallas and Phoenix, Ohlund has watched games from the press box (with a special eye on the defense), taking notes and passing along what he observes to the coaching staff and players.

"He's a really bright hockey guy and well-respected," Yzerman said. "He's got a lot to offer to us in watching the games and watching our defensemen and being able to work with them, particularly the younger guys, about the finer points of playing the position."

"He's a good leader," coach Guy Boucher said. "So having him around is good for him and good for the team."

Ohlund, 35, who has four years left on a seven-year, $25.25 million contract, had arthroscopic surgery on both knees over the summer to clean out what the team called "loose bodies." He has not skated since mid November and declined to comment.

I'M OUT: Next season's Winter Classic between the Wings and Leafs includes an alumni game at Detroit's Comerica Park. Yzerman, for 20 years the Detroit captain, said he will not play. "Because I'm retired. I also have a job."

DIFFERING OPINIONS: Ran­gers LW Brandon Prust believed D Victor Hedman slew-footed him in the first period of Thursday's game.

Hedman said, "I didn't even know what happened," and called Prust "one of those players who plays hard every night" and one who "you need on your team." Said Prust: "I just wanted to get the puck. And all of a sudden, my feet went out from underneath me. … It was pretty dangerous."

MENDING: LW Ryan Malone participated in Thursday's morning skate and took contact for the first time since he was injured and might play Saturday at Buffalo. "We want to make sure everything is good to go and can last the rest of the season," he said.

Malone, hurt Jan. 21 against Phoenix, has missed six games with an upper-body injury. He has three goals and seven points in his previous eight games. "We need this guy in the lineup," Boucher said.

BAD MEMORY: Lightning RW Marty St. Louis survived the morning skate. During the skate before the Dec. 8 game against the Rangers in New York, he sustained facial fractures and eye damage when hit by a puck. The injury prevented him from playing his 500th consecutive game. "When it happened, I was just scared for him," Boucher said. "I didn't really think of hockey. I was thinking of the man. He's got a life outside hockey."

ODDS AND ENDS: Members of the Giants' offensive line, four days after winning the Super Bowl, were introduced to a standing ovation. … Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist had started 26 straight games against the Lightning before sitting out. He was 14-7-5 with two shutouts and a 2.09 GAA in the streak that began Nov. 10, 2005. Martin Biron got the start. … Tampa Bay D Marc-Andre Bergeron and RW Adam Hall were scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund likely won't play this season 02/09/12 [Last modified: Friday, February 10, 2012 12:25am]
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