|There are still a few trees left for him to dodge, but Mattias Ohlund is feeling optimistic that he is almost out of the woods and ready to return to the ice.
Ohlund is recuperating from a concussion he received after taking a hit from a member of the New Jersey Devils on Dec.18. Originally only suffering from a stiff neck, Ohlund played an additional two games before headaches and other symptoms caused him to re-evaluate his condition prior to Vancouver’s game against Colorado on Dec. 23.
His progress has been steady yet slow, but Ohlund rode a stationary bike four days last week and lifted light weights on Friday, and he said he’s starting to feel much better.
“I’ve had some good days, then you wake up the next morning and feel not as good, “ said Ohlund. “But I feel good now and I’m trying to look forward and hopefully tomorrow will be an even better day and we’ll go from there. “
Following Vancouver’s 5-0 win over the Devils mid-December, Ohlund amassed over 48 minutes of ice time in the team’s next two games – both wins – recording two assists. The ten-year NHL veteran played without pain for the most part, and he doesn’t regret suiting up, but he knew something was wrong.
“I noticed when I got hit that I hit my head, “ said Ohlund. “But I didn’t feel bad the next day or the next three or four days and in the two games I played it slowly got worse and worse, and I felt before the game in Denver that something wasn’t right.
“I think there are a lot of times when you get hit and you get your head hit a little bit and you get some headaches, but looking back there’s not a whole lot I could have done differently and I don’t know if it would have made a difference in me being back sooner or later. “
The 31-year-old has now missed Vancouver’s last nine games and he will not be in the line-up against Columbus on Tuesday. The Canucks were already hurting on the blue-line before Ohlund’s injury, so getting him back will help take some pressure off defencemen such as first-year Canuck Aaron Miller.
Ecstatic at hearing Ohlund was has been spending time on ride a stationary bike, Miller said he and the rest of Vancouver’s d-men will get a big boost in Ohlund’s return.
“He’s just an awesome player, “ said Miller. “He’s a guy that plays 25 minutes and kills penalties and plays on the power play and we want him back as soon as we can get him back.
“But with that being said we don’t want him back too early. As soon as he gets healthy we’ll definitely welcome him back. “
According to Ohlund, this is his third documented concussion with the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Swede suffering the first two in 1997-98 and ’98-99, his first two seasons in Vancouver. He said that the symptoms he’s been feeling are familiar, although each concussion presents its own issues.
“It’s been a different experience, tough days, but I feel better and hopefully I’m going to continue to feel better and better, “ said Ohlund, who has 13 points in 32 games this season (6-7-13) and currently sits 23 points behind Dennis Kearns and Jyrki Lumme for first all-time in points for defencemen.
“It’s tough to explain for somebody who hasn’t had one. And even myself, you forget, but it’s been a little different and it’s been tough at times, but I feel good now and I feel optimistic and positive. “
1 - Olympic gold medal (2006)
9 - Games missed this season
10 - Seasons as a member of the Canucks (6-7-13)
13 - Points this season
289 - Career points with Vancouver