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Dan Girardi feels ‘lucky’ to be okay after taking shot in neck

Lightning veteran defenseman could play tonight, two days after a slap shot hit him in the neck
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi (5) is attended to by medical staff on the ice after being hit by a puck against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Detroit. Girardi was helped off the ice. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi (5) is attended to by medical staff on the ice after being hit by a puck against the Detroit Red Wings in the second period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018, in Detroit. Girardi was helped off the ice. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Published Jan. 9, 2018
Updated Jan. 9, 2018

Lightning veteran defenseman Dan Girardi was his usual smiling self Tuesday morning, joining his teammates in its morning skate.

He might actually play tonight against the Hurricanes, a game-time decision.

That's a stunning turn of events for anyone that watched Girardi get hit in the back of the neck with a slap shot from Martin Frk Sunday in Detroit. Girardi said the puck hit him in the "meat of the neck," and all tests, including concussion, were negative.

"Very scary moment," Girardi said. "It was definitely a weird feeling. Just kind of hurt everywhere. My arm was numb. Not sure if there was any damage. It was just a wait and see. But I got really lucky."

Girardi, a key cog on the penalty kill, was trying to block a shot from Frk near the left circle. He said he must have instinctively turned his head at the last second,  might have saw it coming. Of his 1,700-plus blocked shots in his career, this is the first one that hit him above the shoulders.

"That guy can shoot the puck very hard," Girardi said. "He got me right in the (butt) right before that, 30 seconds before."

Girardi was helped off the ice by teammates Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. Girardi said Lightning PR man Brian Bresemen called his wife, Pamela, to let her know he was okay.

"She's seen me block a lot of shots over the years, that's the first time she was scared," Giradi said. "That's tough when family is worried about you."

Girardi said several former Rangers teammates, including Keith Yandle, reached out to him after Sunday. He said he's watched the replay a few times.

"(The puck) bounces pretty far," Girardi said. "I don't want to watch it anymore. It's too close for comfort."

But Girardi said this scare won't change how he approaches his game, or his specialty of blocking shots, if he gets back in there tonight.

"You can't," Girardi said. "If that starts creeping in, you've got to rethink what you're doing. Especially blocking shots, you can't think twice about any play. The game is so fast. It's going to be just another day if I play today. I'll go out and do the same thing."