The bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning is that Brendan Mikkelson is listed on the injury list as day-to-day with an upper body injury, and according to head coach Guy Boucher, there is no timetable for his return.
The good news, however, coming out of the team’s morning skate Friday where Mikkelson addressed reporters for the first time since the incident occurred just one day ago, is that perhaps the injury is not as severe as it could have been, or even looked.
On Thursday at the team’s practice held at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Mikkelson went crashing head-first into the end boards after racing teammate Steven Stamkos for a puck. He appeared to hit the back of his head and stayed down for several minutes while attended to by head athletic trainer Tom Mulligan and assistant trainer Mike Poirier.
A dangerous situation on the ice Thursday morning led to Brendan Mikkelson being taken off in an ambulance after he fell awkwardly head-first into the boards.
He then skated off under his own power and was taken to Tampa General Hospital as a precaution, although Boucher following Thursday’s practice characterized Mikkelson as “lucid” and said he was talking, both of which were perceived to be positive signs.
“I’m not sure exactly what happened,” Mikkelson said. “I knew Stamkos was skating right beside me, so I knew I was going to have to get on my horse if I was going to beat him to the puck, and so I skated as hard as I could, but I don’t know if our feet got tangled up, or our sticks, or I just straight up blew a tire.”
Mikkelson was in the locker room Friday at the team’s morning skate and mentioned that his only symptoms included soreness and stiffness, primarily in his shoulder.
“I felt like I was winded at first, and I think I was out [of consciousness] for a few seconds, but no headaches and nothing showed up on the CT [scan],” Mikkelson added.
He also added that as he remembers, he has never had such a “freak thing,” as he called it, ever happen to him, nor has he never gone crashing into the boards that hard.
“I do feel like we’re fortunate because it wasn’t pretty,” Boucher said of the incident. “We crossed our fingers and we got lucky there because he’s a good player and he will be asked to play at some point or another.”
Mikkelson, acquired on January 6, 2012, in exchange for forward Blair Jones, played in 41 games with the Lightning last season, collecting one goal and three points to go along with 13 penalty minutes. He scored his first career NHL goal on March 17 against the St. Louis Blues.
So far this season, Mikkelson has appeared in just one game on January 22 at Carolina, and has been scratched in five of the Lightning’s six games total on the year.