Wings' Lilja moving on after year-long injury

Lilja.jpgHere’s a sign of how much careful the NHL and it’s teams are being regarding concussions and head injuries. It used to be that a hockey player would take a bad head shot, get knocked in a fight, wait until the fog cleared a bit and returned to the ice just a few days later. Now, teams are much more conservative when it comes to head injuries.

Andreas Lilja, out for nearly a year with a concussion, has returned for two games so far and tonight will face the team and player that nearly ended his career.

Lilja and the Predators’ She Weber engaged in a spirited fight on February 28, 2009, that injured Lilja’s knee and left him with a bad concussion.

“He knocked me out, I hate to admit it,” Lilja said at the time. “I just remember
the first two punches and the rest of it I saw on TV afterward. I
realized I probably got a concussion.”

Initially, it looked at though Lilja would just might just miss a few games, but persistent headaches sidelined him for the remainder of the season and for most of this one. Tonight, when Lilja plays against Weber and the Predators he’s going to treat it as just another game.

“We both knew what we were doing,” Lilja said of the fight back on
Feb. 28, 2009.

When asked if Weber has spoken to him since the
incident, Lilja said, “No and I wouldn’t expect him to, either. Maybe if
he would have hit me from behind and I would’ve fallen into the boards
and broke my neck, then I would’ve expected him to call me.

“It
was a clean fight and he
just got the best of it. That’s it.”

It’s good to see players move on and let the past go. Sometimes, the hits are more brutal or dirty and ‘revenge’ is warranted (David Booth on Mike Richards) but other times things just happen in a violent sport and you move on. And that’s what Lilja is doing.

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    So it looks like Mike Ribeiro is a healthy scratch for the Predators

    Nashville Predators' Mike Ribeiro (63) gets off a pass as he lies on the ice during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    Mike Ribeiro isn’t playing in Game 3 for the Nashville Predators against the San Jose Sharks, and it doesn’t appear to be for health reasons.

    Well, his production hasn’t been very healthy.

    The polarizing playmaker has only mustered a single assist and zero goals in nine playoff games; Ribeiro hasn’t scored a point against the Sharks so far.

    Ribeiro isn’t exactly known for his offensive acumen, either, so there’s not much motivation to keep him in the lineup if he isn’t producing offense. Ultimately, it’s easy to see why he’s a healthy scratch.

    Pontus Aberg looks to make his NHL debut via this big playoff game while Craig Smith is believed to play.

    It should be interesting to see how Nashville responds to this challenge.

    WATCH LIVE: Game 3 of Sharks – Predators, Stars – Blues

    Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) skates with the puck against St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Sunday, May 1, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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    The Nashville Predators hope to get back in their series now that the San Jose Sharks are visiting “Smashville.” Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars and Blues jostle for a 2-1 lead in St. Louis.

    You can keep up with Game 3 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders (which is in progress) right here and on NBCSN.

    Game 3 of Sharks – Predators is on USA Network and can be streamed via the link below.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Finally, Game 3 of Stars – Blues airs on NBCSN. Keep an eye out for notes if there’s overlap with Bolts – Isles (which would bump it temporarily to NHL Network), but either way, you can stream the action below.

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    Video: Jonathan Drouin shaken up by huge Thomas Hickey hit

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    Jonathan Drouin‘s strong playoff play has been a big story for the Tampa Bay Lightning, but his health is in question after taking a huge hit on Tuesday.

    As you can see from the video above, Drouin was shaken up by an enormous check from New York Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey. It’s believed that Drouin went to “The Quiet Room” to see if he suffered a concussion; PHT will pass along whatever information becomes available.

    (NHL teams aren’t exactly forthcoming with this information.)

    The Islanders actually ended up with a power play from the fallout, as Hickey’s hit didn’t earn a penalty. The general reaction is that it wasn’t a dirty hit, yet some might disagree with that sentiment.

    Update: Drouin didn’t come out during the beginning of the third period. He did, however, return midway through the final frame.

    2016 Foundation Player Award finalists: Giordano, Martin, Subban

    Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban walks away after taking with reporters during an end of season availability at the team training facility Monday, April 11, 2016 in Brossard, Quebec. None of the seven Canadian NHL teams was good enough this season to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs, a dismal milestone in the home of modern hockey and the first time it has happened since the 1969-70 season. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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    The NHL named the three finalists for the 2016 Foundation Player Award on Tuesday: Calgary Flames captain Mark Giordano, New York Islanders forward Matt Martin and Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban.

    The awarded is handed to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey — commitment, perseverance and teamwork — to enrich the lives of people in his community.”

    The winner gets to hand $25K to the charity of his choice.