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Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith thinks accidental hit might have given him concussion

Lightning goaltender Mike Smith, after being hit in a game Dec. 2 at Philadelphia. He thinks this could be the game where he sustained a concussion, leading to his current absence.

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Lightning goaltender Mike Smith, after being hit in a game Dec. 2 at Philadelphia. He thinks this could be the game where he sustained a concussion, leading to his current absence.

TAMPA — G Mike Smith might have sustained the concussion that has kept him out of seven straight games during a Dec. 2 game with the Flyers when he inadvertently was run over by teammate Vinny Prospal.

"Right around there," said Smith, who did not alert the club of dizziness and headaches until after a Jan. 30 game against the Flyers at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Smith, 26, said his symptoms were aggravated during a Jan. 21 game with the Sabres when he accidentally was knocked down by a referee as Smith played a puck behind the net.

Smith, who finished both games, took small steps in his recovery the past two days by skating about 15 minutes without pads.

"If I do start feeling better, I'd like to get back playing," he said.

So Smith said he asked trainer Tommy Mulligan if he could skate to work through the inevitable aches and pains in his feet from not skating for a while.

As for the blow that might have caused the injury, it occurred in the first period in Philadelphia and left Smith on his stomach.

"All I remember is he was there lying on the ice, and the trainer after him," Prospal said. "I don't remember why it happened. I remember coming back on the backcheck. That's all."

Goaltenders coach Cap Raeder said he did not recall who hit Smith but added, "It was a good ding. The guy was cutting across and (Smith) bent down and he hit him" in the side of the head.

"Those kinds of plays happen," Prospal said. "It seemed harmless at the time."

RANGER INJURY: A decision could come soon whether D Paul Ranger (upper body) will be shut down for the season.

"We have to figure out what we're going to do with him," coach Rick Tocchet said. "Do we continue with this path or ... get him fixed up?"

Ranger, 24, has missed four games with the undisclosed injury, which Tocchet said is different than the upper-body problem that previously kept him out of eight games.

He had surgery last summer to repair a shoulder labrum.

MORE INJURIES: D Ty Wishart was called up from AHL Norfolk because of the right ankle injury to Marek Malik, hurt Saturday against the Capitals. Tocchet said Malik's injury is "a continuation" of what previously sidelined him nine games.

ARTY SCRATCHED: Tocchet said he believes last month's two-game suspension for a knee-to-knee hit on Florida's Ville Peltonen might have taken some of the starch out of RW Evgeni Artyukhin's game.

"Maybe he's right," Artyukhin said. "Maybe I lost something."

Tocchet said Artyukhin has been "kind of sleeping a little bit" and hopes Tuesday's scratch lights a fire.

"We need more from him," Tocchet said. "A big body like that, he should have three, four shots a game. He should have chances by tipping the puck in front of the net. He should have great body position on people. I haven't seen that."

Tocchet's message: "Go play. Don't worry about the referees."

ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning's previous high for shots allowed in a game was 48, done five times. … Prospal had two assists. … C Vinny Lecavalier won 14 of 21 faceoffs. … F David Koci was scratched. … NHL Network's Voices series on Feb. 26 features Lightning radio's Dave Mishkin.

Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Mike Smith thinks accidental hit might have given him concussion 02/17/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 8:01am]
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