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Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos feels well enough to play

DENVER — Steven Stamkos said his right wrist injury was caused Wednesday night when he was hit by a puck that opened a bloody wound and bruised a bone.

X-rays were negative, he said.

"It's not so much the cut itself that is hurting," the center said. "It's the swelling and tenderness of the bone."

Stamkos decided he could play Friday against the Avalanche.

Ryan Malone played as well. The left wing left Wednesday's game with a lower body injury he would not reveal and playfully referred to as diarrhea. But Malone's injury always was considered less serious than Stamkos'.

"It's more a pain thing," said coach Rick Tocchet, who added before the game that if Stamkos told him he could play, he expected the center to be ready for the entire game.

"Absolutely," Tocchet said. "When you say, 'Are you ready to go?' it's, 'Are you ready to play the game?' If he plays, it's not just spot duty and see how he feels. He's going to be in the game."

Stamkos played 17:00 with two shots but didn't take any faceoffs.

KRAJICEK ON WAIVERS: D Lukas Krajicek, on 24-hour waivers, will clear or be claimed at noon today. Krajicek, 26, is averaging 17:44 of ice time in 21 games with one assist. He is making $1.475 million.

"We were expecting a little more offense from Luke," Tocchet said. "He's actually given us some good games.

"But when he's in the lineup, we need someone who can make the right pass for a goal. To have only one assist being the good skater and with the shot he has is a little disappointing."

PLENTY OF BLAME: The Lightning's lack of scoring largely has been blamed on the forwards. For example, LW Alex Tanguay entered Friday with zero goals in 12 games.

But Tocchet said don't forget about the defense, whose nine goals are tied for 27th in the 30-team league.

"You can't just blame the forwards all the time," Tocchet said. "The D has to get some responsibility and get some offense, too."

BAD TIMING: D David Hale has played at the Pepsi Center before. Still, the Colorado Springs native was disappointed he was scratched.

"I'm disappointed in myself. I'm disappointed in the whole situation," he said. "Going home, you always want to play in front of your home areas, your home people, your home crowd. I seem to play better in front of them, so I was looking forward to it."

That said, Hale admitted he hasn't been on top of his game.

"There's no pointing fingers other than at myself," he said. "I have to dig myself out of this hole and come back stronger."

THE AIR UP THERE: Tocchet said that given the thinner air in the Mile High City, he would closely monitor shift lengths.

"I'll probably err on the side of caution," said Tocchet, an Avalanche assistant from 2003-04.

"If a guy's been out there 18, 20 seconds, I'll probably try to get him off a little quicker off the draw. You can't be stuck out there on long shifts. It does affect you."

ODDS AND ENDS: Malone played his 400th NHL game. … D Matt Walker played after sitting one game as a scratch. … D Matt Smaby played his second game of the season.… C Blair Jones was scratched.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos feels well enough to play 12/11/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 12, 2009 12:26am]

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