Canes forward Jiri Tlusty, who took a hit to the head Tuesday in the game at Columbus, was at practice Thursday and could play Friday against the Blue Jackets.
Tlusty was blindsided by Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson during the Canes' 4-2 victory at Nationwide Arena -- a blow that resulted in a three-game NHL suspension for Johnson. Tlusty was evaluated by doctors Wednesday -- the Canes had the day off -- and again Thursday, and said he continues to follow protocol for concussion testing.
"I don't have any symptoms and that's actually a good sign," Tlusty said after practice. "Hopefully I will pass all the tests and wake up tomorrow morning feeling much better again and then I might be able to go for tomorrow night."
Tlusty, who has a team-high six goals, wore a yellow, no-contact jersey during practice but worked on a line with Eric Staal and Alex Semin and was used on special teams. Defenseman Tim Gleason did miss practice, taking a maintenance day.
Tlusty had just passed the puck to Staal during the third period of Tuesday's game when Johnson skated in from the left, rose up and hit Tlusty with his right shoulder. Tlusty said he was hit on the left cheek, knocking him woozy.
"If he had hit me in the shoulder I would have probably fallen because I wasn't expecting it," Tlusty said "He got my head straight up. If he got my shoulder that would have been my fault, but I wasn't expecting he would just go for my head. It's a quick game and it happens once in a while. Hopefully it will be fine."
Tlusty suffered a concussion in preseason training camp last year and later missed games because of an emergency appendectomy.
Asked about Johnson's suspension, he said, "I watched the pass (to Staal) a little bit and he got my head. That was the key."
Both Tlusty and Canes coach Bill Peters said they expected another tough, perhaps edgy game from the Blue Jackets (4-8-0), who have lost six straight.
"Even more physical and more intense," Peters said. "Probably a better game all around, with a little more pace to the game. It was a little bit of a muddy track at times in Columbus and I think it will be a quicker game and as physical, if not more physical."
Peters said Cam Ward would again be in net, making his fifth straight start. The Canes (3-6-2) have won three straight behind Ward, who has stopped 72 of 76 shots in the three victories to even his record at 3-3-1.
The lines were unchanged from Tuesday's game. Defenseman John-Michael Liles, a healthy scratch the past three games, worked with Jay Harrison in practice with Gleason out.