In an interview with the Swedish Hockey Express, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Andreas Lilja discusses the concussion symptoms that still plague him after a fight with Nashville's Shea Weber over five months ago.
After the jump, the video from that fight, and more from Lilja on his prospects for a return...
"I have pain in my head every day"
The date was February 28, 2009 and the Predators were up 5-0 over Detroit in the middle of the second period, in front of a packed Sommet Center that was having a good time on this Saturday night (after all, Mirtle was in the house). As Lilja and Weber went into the corner, however, bodies banged, and Lilja grabbed Weber by the face and hauled him down to the ice from behind.
Whatever one thinks of fighting in hockey, this is the sort of event that would lead to blows no matter what the sport; in basketball after a flagrant foul, or in baseball after a deliberate beaning. Making a player fall backwards is one of the most dangerous things that can happen on the ice, and it brought an immediate, brutal reaction by Weber:
Lilja hasn't played since, and still can't even train. This comes via Google Translate:
He tends to train on ice with Rogla in Ängelholm pre-NHL seasons. "In the current situation, I do not know when I seriously can walk on ice," said Andreas Lilja. Club-mate Henrik "Zäta" Zetterberg suffering with Andreas Lilja: "It must be terribly hard. I keep my fingers crossed that he as soon as possible to avoid the constant headaches."
At the age of 34, the depth defenseman would already be in danger of losing his job to younger, cheaper prospects; faced with the uncertain timeline involved with concussion recovery, there's no telling at this point if we'll ever see Lilja in the NHL again. Regardless of what side you're on in this rivalry, that's a sad piece of news.