Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund to have major knee surgery

It is easy to understand why Mattias Ohlund said, "I wake up every day in a bad mood."

The Lightning defenseman is in pain, and the ache in his left knee that has kept him sidelined the entire regular season and off skates completely since mid November is getting worse.

"We have great trainers, and they work with me every day," Ohlund said. "We've tried everything. We've been thinking and talking about this and finally came to the conclusion it's time to get it done."

What Ohlund, 35, will have done Thursday at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio is major surgery on his left knee that likely is the last best hope of saving his career.

The complicated procedure performed by noted orthopedist Anthony Miniaci will use a thin layer of titanium to resurface the bottom of the femur behind the kneecap. That should create a cushion where cartilage that usually covers the bone has flaked off to such an extent there is painful bone-on-bone rubbing at the patellofemoral joint.

There is no guarantee the surgery will resurrect Ohlund's 14-season career. There is not even a timetable for rehab.

"It's going to depend on how it takes," Lightning head medical trainer Tommy Mulligan said.

But Ohlund volunteered, "We're talking months, not weeks."

"Do you have thoughts it's going to be tough? Absolutely," Ohlund added. "I know it's going to be challenging, but I'm determined to come back as soon as possible."

Ohlund hoped his knee problems were done after summer arthroscopic surgery on both cleaned out what the team called "loose bodies."

The right knee is fine, Ohlund said. But the left never regained the proper strength and has gotten progressively more painful while his limp became more pronounced.

The Lightning misses Ohlund's savvy, especially on the penalty kill, as well as his average 18:43 of ice time last season that ballooned to 20:12 in 18 playoff games, in which he was plus-5.

The 6-foot-4, 229-pounder also hits like a battering ram, an asset that makes opponents a little less confident in the offensive zone.

His transition to spectator has not been easy. And Ohlund bristled that the coaching staff referred to him as an ad hoc assistant for the observations he shares after watching games from the press box.

"I'm not a coach. I'm a player," Ohlund said. "I watch the games like every other player who watches games. If they ask me for some input, I'm happy to give it. But clearly, I'm not a coach."

What he has been all season is a patient, and that will not change any time soon.

In August 2007, then-Lightning captain Tim Taylor had a resurfacing procedure on his right hip. It took seven months for Taylor to even consider playing again. He never did, though his day-to-day quality of life improved tremendously.

It is a reality Ohlund knows he might face.

"I don't know if I want to put it in those terms," he said. "But this is a major procedure. Everybody seems quite optimistic I'm going to get better."

"I hope this works out for him," coach Guy Boucher said. "We miss him greatly. He's such a good person. I hope his career will continue."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected] View his blog at lightning.tampabay.com. Or follow him on Twitter at @LightningTimes.

Comments
Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

The Tampa Bay Lightning will announce their full 2018-19 schedule on Thursday, but the league announced each home opener Wednesday, with Tampa Bay playing host to the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena on Saturday, Oct. 6.The Lightning will know their ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

The Ottawa Senators traded winger Mike Hoffman on Tuesday, hoping to solve an ugly off-ice issue involving star defenseman Erik Karlsson and his wife. The Senators sent Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who then dealt him to the Florida Panthers. All t...
Published: 06/19/18
Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Thanks, Vegas. That’s what NHL general managers are saying this offseason after the Stanley Cup Final run of the expansion Golden Knights contributed to what’s expected to be a healthy increase for the salary cap. With elite center John Tavares, No. ...
Published: 06/19/18
Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz abruptly stepped down as coach of the Washington Capitals on Monday after failing to agree to terms on a new contract, a stunning move that left the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft later this week and wit...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

The Lightning re-signed goaltender Eddie Pasquale to a one-year, two-way contract general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.Pasquale, 27, split this past season between the Syracuse Crunch and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League. He...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

TAMPA — The Lightning will open its seven-game preseason schedule at home with a 7:30 p.m.  game Sept. 18 against the Carolina Hurricane, the team announced Thursday.That is one of three home games the Lightning will play in a preseason sc...
Published: 06/14/18
Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Sixteen months after acquiring Peter Budaj from the Kings, the Lightning today returned the veteran goaltender to Los Angeles.The Lightning traded Budaj for forward Andy Andreoff, general manager Steve Yzerman announced in a news release.Andreoff, 27...
Published: 06/13/18
Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

This past season didn't end the way Lightning fans might have hoped, but that's no reason to lose hope.In fact, oddsmakers are more bullish on Tampa Bay than any team in the NHL for next season.According to at least one sports betting site, the ...
Published: 06/08/18
Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

LAS VEGAS — Before Devante Smith-Pelly could relax or breathe or even start thinking about his game-tying goal, he had to start moving his feet.The period of recall began midway through the third period Thursday night, when the Capitals trailed, 3-2....
Published: 06/08/18