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Vilardi miffed with former teammate Lizotte after injury: 'It's a stupid play'

Jonathan Kozub / National Hockey League / Getty

Winnipeg Jets forward Gabriel Vilardi called out the Los Angeles Kings' Blake Lizotte on Wednesday, saying his former teammate left him with an injury that was nearly season-ending when the two met in October.

"He's done a lot of little things like that," Vilardi told TSN's John Lu. "It's stuff that you guys say, 'It was an awkward fall.' It wasn't an awkward fall. It's someone pushing your feet out from the back when he gets caught under me, and then he tackles me. It's that simple."

Vilardi sustained a sprained MCL on the play, which has kept him out of the Jets' lineup for the past 18 games.

"I was pretty close to being gone for the rest of the season, so it's frustrating when I look at stuff like that and think about it," Vilardi continued. "Obviously, I don't think his intent was to hurt me, but you make plays like that - it's a stupid play - and it's frustrating to think that guy sits in the box for two minutes and then I have to deal with what I've dealt with for the past month and a half."

The two were teammates from 2019-23 with the Kings. Vilardi was dealt to the Jets in the summer as part of the package that brought Pierre-Luc Dubois to Los Angeles.

Vilardi didn't address whether Lizotte had reached out after the collision.

"That's between me and him ... I'm not going to get into that," he said, per Winnipeg Free Press' Mike McIntyre.

Head coach Rick Bowness said Vilardi's expected to be a game-time decision for Thursday's clash against the Edmonton Oilers, according to Lu.

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