Sobotka says he had concussion

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins forward Vladimir Sobotka said he suffered a concussion after being hit by the Atlanta Thrashers' Evgeny Artyukhin during Tuesday's game in Atlanta, contradicting Bruins coach Claude Julien.

The Bruins have said Sobotka suffered a neck injury and Julien said Thursday morning Sobotka did not have a concussion and that he is taking steps in the right direction.

"There's never a timetable for injuries like Vlady's, but he is better today," Julien said at the Bruins' morning skate Thursday. "Hopefully we'll know more about his situation by tomorrow."

But between the first and second periods of Thursday night's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden, Sobotka told ESPNBoston.com that he did suffer a concussion on the hit. He said it's not serious and hopes to be back in the lineup soon.

After Boston dropped a 5-3 decision to the Lightning, Julien was still mum on the extent of Sobotka's injury.

"We'll know more tomorrow," said the coach. "I know he was going through some tests, and he was feeling better today. We'll get a clear indication of how he's doing tomorrow."

Sobotka, who didn't play Thursday, was slammed into the boards by Artyukhin in the early minutes of the first period on Tuesday and did not return. Sobotka was evaluated in Boston on Wednesday and again Thursday.

With Sobotka out, the Bruins recalled Trent Whitfield from Providence. This is the fourth time this season Whitfield has been recalled from the P-Bruins. The 32-year-old forward has played 14 games for the Bruins this season.

"It's good to get an opportunity," said Whitfield. "You always want to stay up here as long as you can, but that's the way it goes. Unfortunately [for the Bruins] there have been a lot injuries, but fortunately for me I've had an opportunity to come up here and show them I can play at this level. They feel confident to bring me in this time of year to keep the ship going."

Whitfield has played 52 games in Providence this year with 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points.

"Whit is a guy who can make plays and he's hard worker," said Julien.

It took Sobotka a moment to get to his feet and he was able to skate to the bench on his own after the hit. He was clearly shaken up on the play. Sobotka is generously listed at 5-foot-10 and 183 pounds, while Artyukhin is 6-foot-4, 255-pounds.

"He's pretty durable and he plays hard, but that's a pretty big boy he ran into," said Whitfield. "It's unfortunate for him, but it's another opportunity for me to come in here and contribute."