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Lightning's Ohlund ponders how to retire

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund has not played since the 2011 playoffs due to a knee injury and surgery.
Published Apr. 8, 2013

WASHINGTON — Lightning D Mattias Ohlund knows his playing career is over. He said as much in January, 11 months after partial replacement surgery on his left knee did not achieve the desired results. The question now is how he chooses to retire.

"I think about it a lot," Ohlund, 36, said Sunday. "I don't know if I have a solution, but I'm sure at some point in the future I'll talk to (GM Steve Yzerman) or the coaching staff and we'll find a direction."

Ohlund, who has not played since the 2011 playoffs, has three years and $6.75 million left on his contract, which carries a $3.607 million salary cap hit. It was unclear how the Lightning would be affected financially by retirement because Ohlund's seven-year contract might be subject to a cap benefit recapture formula.

In the meantime, Ohlund has reconnected with teammates because of an initiative by coach Jon Cooper. Ohlund acknowledged his injury has separated him from the team's day-to-day activities as he spends his time at the Tampa Bay Times Forum rehabilitating.

But Cooper, since taking over March 25, pushed for Ohlund to get more involved, and Ohlund traveled with the Lightning on its three-game road trip that ended Sunday against the Capitals.

"I'm a big believer in, you surround yourself with as many good people as possible and good things will happen," Cooper said. "He's just too much of a wealth of knowledge. I would be remiss if I didn't try to tap into that."

"It gives me a little bit of a purpose," Ohlund said. "I don't know what will come out of it in the end, but everybody needs a goal or focus, and clearly, I haven't done that the last little while."

As for the frustration he initially felt after his February 2012 surgery, Ohlund said he is over it. "Clearly, I'm going to need a miracle to skate again and practice," he said. "Anybody would like things to be different, but it is what it is."

MILESTONE: W Marty St. Louis played his 900th Lightning game.

STICK CHECK: F Alex Killorn scored a highlight-reel goal in Sunday's 4-2 loss and also interfered — from the bench — with Alex Ovechkin's empty-net goal.

Ovechkin scored with 4.4 seconds left, but he didn't even have to shoot after Killorn leaned over the boards and, with his stick, tried to knock the puck away from the Capitals star as he skated past. NHL Rule 56.7 states that at that point, "the referee shall immediately award a goal."

More impressive was Killorn's seventh goal of the season. He blew past Washington D Jack Hillen in the Capitals zone, then backhanded the puck through the legs of G Michal Neuvirth.

"He got caught flat-footed," Killorn said of Hillen. "That's why I was able to take him wide. Once I got around him, I had an idea of what I wanted to do."

ODDS and ENDS: Ovechkin's two goals gave him 25 to tie C Steve Stamkos for the league lead. … Vinny Lecavalier's power-play goal was the team's first in 11 tries under Cooper. ... D Matt Carle has a career-best five-game points streak. … D Victor Hedman (lower body) and RW Dana Tyrell were scratched.

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