Sullivan's injury not serious; Predators expect him Saturday

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 12:33pm

Steve Sullivan did not sustain any broken bones when he was hit in the face with a puck during the second period of Thursday’s 3-1 victory over Vancouver.

That was good news for the Nashville Predators. The report from coach Barry Trotz on Friday morning was that Sullivan likely would play Saturday when the Predators host the Phoenix Coyotes (7 p.m., Bridgestone Arena) in another critical Western Conference contest.

Sullivan was not at the team’s practice facility Friday morning. Only a limited number of players took part in an abbreviated workout on what was a previously scheduled day of rest.

“I think he’s going to be fine,” Trotz said. “He’s a little swollen, which is normal. He’s actually probable for [Saturday].”

The veteran forward will have to play with either a full face shield or a cage to protect the damaged area.

Sullivan was injured with 7:22 to play in the second period when a teammate attempted to pass him the puck. The puck tipped up off the stick of a Canucks’ defenseman.

He did not return to the game and ultimately was taken to the hospital for tests.

“He got hit just under the eye,” Trotz said. “You just have to keep the swelling down. If you can keep the swelling down so that he can see, then we’ll put a mask on and let him go.”

Sullivan has 10 goals and 12 assists in 40 games this season. He has played in each of the last six after having been sidelined for 18 contests with a groin injury. He had an assist in each of his last two appearances before Thursday.

“He starting to catch up a little bit,” Trotz said. “Usually when you have any kind of injury, especially to the groin area or whatever, you’re a little cautious [at first]. You probably don’t extend yourself to the point where you can really test it.”

Goc out: Center Marcel Goc will not play because of an upper body injury he sustained against Vancouver. Trotz called his status day-to-day.

“I don’t anticipate him [Saturday] at all,” Trotz said.

Goc missed one game last week with an upper body injury and six games in October with a separated shoulder.

Trotz said his absence would not require the team to make a roster move. Either Marek Svatos or Wade Belak would fill Goc’s place in the lineup, and Colin Wilson or Nick Splaing could move from the wing back to center.

Dekanich recalled: Goalie Mark Dekanich was recalled from Milwaukee and took part in the day’s practice session.

Backup goalie Andres Lindback currently is unavailable due to illness.

Lindback was not on the bench Thursday and ultimately spent the night in the hospital being treated for dehydration.

“That was precautionary more than anything,” Trotz said. “He was sick and he was throwing up. It wasn’t pretty. He wouldn’t have played [against Vancouver].”

Dekanich currently is fourth in the American Hockey League in wins (20), goals-against average (2.04) and save percentage (.929).

He spent a week with Nashville in December and made his NHL debut on Dec. 18 when he relieved Lindback after 10 minutes of a 6-1 loss to Los Angeles. He was sent back to Milwaukee the next day when Pekka Rinne was activated off injured reserve.

“[Dekanich] has been a real backbone of the Milwaukee team,” Trotz said. “… He’s a bulldog. He gives you everything you’ve got. If you ask [coach] Lane Lambert, he’d say by far he’s their MVP.”