DETROIT – While a dented trachea is no laughing matter, Carlo Colaiacovo was able to turn it into one.
The Sabres defenseman, who suffered the injury Saturday night after a cross-check to the throat, was delivering puns and fun Monday after practicing with his teammates.
“Whatever I got to do to help the team win, right?” Colaiacovo said to Evander Kane when the forward mentioned how Buffalo scored twice on the power play earned by the cross-check.
Despite spending much of Saturday night in a Nashville hospital, Colaiacovo is cleared to play in Tuesday’s game against Detroit.
“I feel pretty good,” he said in Joe Louis Arena. “Obviously, it was a pretty scary incident. At the time it was pretty painful. Right now it’s not really stopping me from doing much. I’m just dealing with it and luckily I’m still able to play.
“It kind of feels like when you’re sick and you get a really sore throat. Everything hurts to swallow. Other than that, it’s just a normal soreness. The good thing is I’ll be OK.”
Colaiacovo was hospitalized after the Predators’ Viktor Arvidsson caught him in the throat with his stick. Arvidsson was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct but no supplemental discipline.
“When it first happened I was just trying to catch my breath,” Colaiacovo said. “It was a scary moment when you get hit in the throat that hard. Obviously, I don’t think it was intentional. It’s an accidental thing.
“When I looked at it after, I don’t blame the guy. It’s a tough spot for him to be in. He turns around and catches me right underneath the throat. I don’t think there was any intent. For me it was hard to swallow, pardon my pun, but it was a scary moment and a long night in the hospital. Thankfully, I’m OK.”
The defenseman won’t even need a neck guard when he returns to action.
“When you’re dealing with vital organs, as they say, they take every precaution possible,” Colaiacovo said. “That’s basically what it was, going there and doing a bunch of tests just to make sure everything was still functioning properly. They found what they found. I don’t know what that’s supposed to feel like, but for me it just feels like a sore throat.
“It was a long night at the hospital. I’m here today with my teammates with a smile on my face and ready to get back at it.”
Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said Mark Pysyk (bone bruise) is skating on his own back in Buffalo. Tyler Ennis (upper body) has not yet returned to the ice, and Bylsma said there is still no timetable for the forward to return. Pysyk will miss his seventh straight game, while Ennis will sit out his fourth.
The Sabres’ two-game road trip to Nashville and Detroit is a double homecoming for David Legwand. The center spent his first 15 seasons playing for the Predators. He’s is a Detroit native who was traded to the Red Wings late in 2013-14 season.
Bylsma put Legwand out for the opening faceoff in Nashville as recognition for his time there.
“The question is do I have to start him against Detroit?” the coach said with a smile. “He only played 20 games here.”
The game against the Red Wings is a figurative homecoming for Bylsma. He grew up three hours away in Grand Haven, Mich., and was a fan of the Wings as a kid. The coach welcomed a few friends and relatives to town.
“It’s not the same as when I played,” he said. “More people don’t make the drive anymore. I’m just wearing a suit behind the bench, so it’s not as exciting to come as it was to see me play here.”
Detroit is on a 4-0-3 run, with six of the games decided in overtime. The Red Wings have played longer than 60 minutes in nine of their 24 games.
Peter Mrazek will start in goal for Detroit. He is 6-4-3 with a .932 save percentage and 2.19 goals-against average.