Red Wings D Lebda suffers concussion

Mar 25, 2007 - 5:27 AM DETROIT (Ticker) -- One day after clinching a playoff berth, the Detroit Red Wings lost a key member of their defense corps.

Brett Lebda was injured early in the first period of Detroit's 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues on Saturday and was escorted from the ice on a stretcher.

Just over 6 1/2 minutes into the opening session, Lebda was hit from behind in the right corner of the Red Wings' zone by Blues left wing Ville Nieminen and crumpled to the ice. After being attended to by Detroit's medical staff, Lebda was placed in a neck brace and taken to Detroit Medical Center, where it was determined the blue-liner suffered a concussion.

"A real unfortunate incident in that Lebs is hit directly from behind," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I'm a big believer in this game that no one does that on purpose."

When he crashed into the end boards, Lebda had his head strike the metal bar between the panes of glass, opening a gash on his face.

"His head hit the metal," Babcock said. "He kind of was driven face-first into it."

Nieminen was given a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct.

"Look at who did it," said Detroit blue-liner Chris Chelios, who confronted Nieminen after the hit on his defensive partner. "I don't care what they say, the guy's got a habit of hitting from behind, and that's all you've got to say. Hopefully, the league should know by now. It's pretty easy to see that's what he does."

"It's what's been going on the last month in the league," Red Wings center Daniel Cleary added. "You would think guys would have more respect for each other."

A 25-year-old native of Illinois, Lebda has recorded four goals, 11 assists and 57 penalty minutes in 70 games this season. He made his NHL debut last campaign, registering three tallies and 12 points in 46 contests.

Despite being idle on Friday, the Red Wings secured a postseason berth by virtue of the Colorado Avalanche's shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Detroit (45-19-11) trails Nashville (48-21-7) for first place in both the Central Division and Western Conference by two points.

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