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Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman day to day with sore foot

DETROIT — Victor Hedman said he wanted to skate pregame Thursday before deciding whether his bruised left foot would allow him play. But the rookie defenseman never got on the ice.

Steve Downie also was held out. The right wing smashed his head on the ice Tuesday when he slipped and fell throwing a punch at Nashville's Shea Weber. F Jeff Halpern left against the Red Wings in the third period and needed 12 stitches in his mouth after he was hit by a puck.

Hedman, 18, was hurt during Wednesday's practice when hit by a shot from D Kurtis Foster. Listed as day to day, he said the foot is more painful than expected.

"It's very close, but it's also uncomfortable," he said before the game. "If I don't feel 100 percent, I shouldn't play. We need guys to be at 100 percent."

Losing Hedman is a huge blow for Tampa Bay. The 6-foot-6, 240-pounder, with two goals and nine points, averages 22:13 of ice time, second on the team entering Thursday.

A GOAL TO REMEMBER: LW Drew Miller, whom the Lightning lost to the Red Wings on waivers this season, found a comfort zone in Detroit, getting four goals and six points in 18 games. He had zero points for Tampa Bay in 14 games.

"It was a business move for them," said Miller, who grew up in East Lansing, Mich., and starred at Michigan State. "They chose to get rid of me. You've got to land on your feet and make the most of where you're at. No hard feelings toward them."

Still, it must have been sweet to score the winner.

Miller created his own breakaway at the Lightning blue line by plucking from the air with his stick Brian Rafalskis pass from the defensive zone. He scored on a backhander while leaping over Tampa Bay G Mike Smith, who dove forward to poke-check the puck.

"I came off the bench and saw a lane there," Miller said. "The puck was knocked out of the air, and I sort of got lucky on that one. I saw the goalie had come out and just went with my backhand."

BIG HIT: D Mattias Ohlund knocked Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg out of the game in the first period with a clean shoulder-to-shoulder hit. Zetterberg, who drove himself to the hospital for tests, team spokesman John Hahn said, is Detroit's ninth front-line player injured. "Obviously, there was no intent to injure him," Ohlund said.

IT'S ON YOU, ALEX: Alex Tanguay was in the lineup after Tuesday's scratch, the first of his 10-year career. As for his comments Wednesday that asked why he seemed to be the fall guy for the team's poor record, coach Rick Tocchet said, "It's not about, 'Other guys are making mistakes, so why is it me?' To me, it's worry about yourself, worry about your piece of the carpet. Do the things we ask, work hard, and the coaching staff will have no problem with you."

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning is 0-3-1 on its six-game road trip. … It is 0-9 with a tie in Detroit since its last win there, in January 2003. … Former Lightning D Doug Janik was called up from AHL Grand Rapids and played for the Wings. … D Matt Smaby also was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman day to day with sore foot 12/17/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2009 12:23am]

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