Erat injured on final weekend of World Championship tournament

Sunday, May 20, 2012 at 5:09pm

Martin Erat sat out Sunday’s bronze medal game at the 2012 IIHF World Championships because of a possible concussion sustained a day earlier.

The Nashville Predators’ leading scorer during the 2011-12 regular season (a career-high 58 points) left a semifinal loss to Slovakia nearly nine and a half minutes into the first period after he absorbed a heavy hit from forward Libor Hudacek. Following the game, the Czech Republic’s general manager said that Erat had sustained a concussion, according to the event’s official website.

Such an injury would cast doubt about Erat’s availability for the start of next season.

Nashville has had players sidelined for months with such an injury. Most recently, forward Matthew Lombardi missed the final 80 games of 2010-11 and defenseman Francis Bouillon sat out the final 37 contests that same season as well as much of his offseason training prior to 2011-12.

Without Erat, the Czechs still claimed the bronze medal with a 3-2 victory over Finland. Russia won the gold medal with a 6-2 rout of Slovakia.

Erat was one of several Nashville players who joined their respective national teams for the latter part of the tournament after the Phoenix Coyotes eliminated the Predators in the second round of the NHL playoffs.

In five appearances for the Czechs, who played 10 games in all, he had three goals and one assist. It was his third appearance at the event since 2006. He also has played for the Czech Republic in the last two Olympics.

He was named his team’s most outstanding player in a 2-0 loss to Russia during the preliminary round. He had a goal in the Czechs’ 4-3 quarterfinal victory over Sweden.

Predators officials were not available to comment on Erat’s situation. General manager David Poile was not at the tournament, which was played in Sweden and Finland, but members of the team’s scouting staff were.

A look at how other Nashville players did during the competition:

• Rookie forward Craig Smith had two assists in four games for the United States.

• Patric Hornqvist, Nashville’s leading goal scorer during the regular season, did not have a point in three appearances for Sweden. He did have four penalty minutes and 13 shots on goal.

• Defenseman Roman Josi had an assist and three shots on goal for Switzerland.

• Brothers Andrei (two assists) and Sergei Kostitsyn (one goal, one assist) had two points apiece in three games with Belarus.