Ottawa Senators goaltender Craig Anderson remembers every detail of the hit from Valeri Nichushkin of the Dallas Stars last Sunday and he has re-lived it while watching the video.

He agrees that the episode looks “pretty nasty” and he understands all the deep concerns Ottawa Senators fans had when he was taken off the ice on a stretcher, but all things considered, he feels fortunate about the end result.

“Surprisingly, (I feel) better than expected,” Anderson said, speaking publicly Wednesday for the first time since the knee on head collision in overtime of Sunday’s game. “I’m sore, there’s no doubt about that, but I thought it would be a lot worse. The last time I got run over in a similar situation, I couldn’t move for a couple of weeks, so I’m not really sure why this is different.”

Anderson was on the ice Wednesday for the first time since the incident, taking shots from coaches Rick Wamsley and Jason Smith before the Senators’ optional practice. He says there’s no timetable for his return, but says being on the ice was a positive step, giving him an idea of where he stands.

“It’s just a matter of things calming down, like any injury.”

Anderson never lost consciousness and says the stretcher was a precaution, as the club’s doctors and trainers weren’t going to take any chances with talk about pain in the neck, back and spine areas. As he was being wheeled off the ice surface on his back and in full gear, Anderson offered a thumbs up and a slight wave, assuring his loved ones that he had movement in his fingers. Anderson believes that keeping his head up was the key to avoiding serious damage.

“The helmet did a great job,” he said. “It did what it was supposed to do. It was all neck and back.”

As for questions about whether Nichushkin was deliberately trying to injure him by driving hard to the net, Anderson is giving the 6-4, 210-pound forward the benefit of the doubt. After Nichushkin deked around Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson, Anderson lunged towards the puck for an attempted poke check. Nichushkin didn’t slow down, smashing his knee into the goaltender’s helmet.

“It was an unintentional play,” Anderson said. “The guy is going to the net with the puck. He loses his footing. You would like to say maybe there should have been a call, maybe there shouldn’t have been. At the end of the day, we signed up to play this position and we understand the risks. Every single guy in our room is told to go to the net hard and make it tough for the goalie.