Mattias Ohlund will miss at least two weeks with inflammation in right knee

mattohlundinjured.jpgTough news out of Tampa Bay this morning: the Lightning announced that veteran defenseman Mattias Ohlund will miss at least two weeks after aggravating a knee injury that required surgery this off-season. Damian Cristodero has the news.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mattias Ohlund will be out at least two weeks with inflammation in his right knee, GM Steve Yzerman said. Captain Vinny Lecavalier also missed Monday’s practice with a foot contusion sustained Saturday against the Panthers. It is not considered serious. As for Ohlund it is the same knee on which Ohlund was scoped during the summer. Yzerman said Ohlund had an MRI exam on Sunday that revealed the irritation. Ohlund also has fluid on the knee. Yzerman said no other decisions on treatments will be made until it is seen how the knee reacts to rest. The good news for Tampa Bay is defenseman Randy Jones (finger) is back at practice, giving the team eight healthy blueliners. The team must decide whether to go with seven or eight defensemen by 3 p.m. Wednesday, when the 23-man rosters must be submitted to the league.

The 34-year-old defenseman’s knee issues must be a worry to GM Steve Yzerman and the Lightning brass in general. Only Vincent Lecavalier owns a longer term contract with Tampa Bay, as Ohlund’s deal runs all the way through the 2015-16 season and costs an annual salary cap hit of $3.067 million according to CapGeek.com.

It’s natural to wonder if Yzerman & Co. are hoping they can buy Ohlund out or send him to the minors at some point. While his slightly above $3 million cap hit is far from an abomination, it might become quite cumbersome as the team deals with current contracts for Lecavalier and St. Louis while trying to retain Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and possibly Simon Gagne.

As Cristodero noted, the Lightning have some depth-based decisions to make and could elect to go with eight defensemen in order to give themselves options while Ohlund is out.

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    Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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    Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.

    It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

    Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

    There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

    Hmm.

    Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

    Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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    The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

    The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

    (Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

    For more on the three finalists, click here.

    MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

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    It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

    Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

    Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

    People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

    Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

    The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

    Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.

    Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

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    Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

    Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

    Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.