NEW YORK — Nobody is saying it, but it seems clear Mattias Ohlund will not play this season.
The Lightning defenseman has not played a regular-season game because of two bum knees, is not skating, and GM Steve Yzerman acknow*ledged Thursday there is no timetable for him to do so.
Ohlund contributes, though, as an ad hoc assistant coach. Beginning with the Jan. 20-21 road trip to Dallas and Phoenix, Ohlund has watched games from the press box (with a special eye on the defense), taking notes and passing along what he observes to the coaching staff and players.
"He's a really bright hockey guy and well-respected," Yzerman said. "He's got a lot to offer to us in watching the games and watching our defensemen and being able to work with them, particularly the younger guys, about the finer points of playing the position."
"He's a good leader," coach Guy Boucher said. "So having him around is good for him and good for the team."
Ohlund, 35, who has four years left on a seven-year, $25.25 million contract, had arthroscopic surgery on both knees over the summer to clean out what the team called "loose bodies." He has not skated since mid November and declined to comment.