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Red Wings' Howard practices one day after collision

by Paul Harris /

DETROIT – Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard practiced Monday at Joe Louis Arena and said he was fine one day after taking an accidental knee to the head from Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza during a goal-mouth scramble.

Howard said in addition to the usual concern when a player is hit in the head, he also had an issue with his contact lens as a result of the blow. Following the hit, he was unable to get his contacts to come into focus.

"I think it was a little bit of both," Howard said. "They wanted to take ... everything now is so cautious when you take hits to the head. I just came in here and they asked me some questions and I passed everything. Then I switched my contacts out and then I wanted to go back in and they said no."

Howard left Detroit's 4-1 loss to Dallas on Sunday with 12:51 remaining in the third period after he attempted to stop Spezza's shot on a 2-on-1 rush. As Spezza continued to the net to pursue his rebound, his right knee collided with the left side of Howard's head. The goalie was down on the ice momentarily but got to his feet.

Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said after the game that Howard did not go through the concussion protocol.

Howard made 20 saves in the loss. Goalie Petr Mrazek will start Tuesday against the Washington Capitals.

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