Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman leaves practice with sore foot/ankle
Victor Hedman, the Tampa Bay Lightning's standout rookie defenseman, briefly left practice on Wednesday in Detroit after he was struck in the left foot or ankle by a shot from defenseman Kurtis Foster. It wasn't one of Foster's blazers, but he certainly is not the guy you want hitting you with a puck.
Hedman continued practicing but took any chance he could to keep weight off his left foot. He limped to the locker room after practice and limped through the arena hallway toward the team bus with his left shoe untied.
He's a hockey player, of course, and said, "I can play."
Coach Rick Tocchet said after practice that he was not even aware Hedman had briefly left the ice or that he was hit by a puck. Not surprising as Tocchet and his assistants split up the squad during practices.
Hedman, who turns 19 on Dec. 18 (get ready for a shaving cream pie, Victor), has two goals and nine points in 32 games and is minus-4 with 34 penalty minutes. His average 22:13 of ice time is second on the team.
Other stuff from practice: Tocchet said it is likely Mike Smith will start in net Thursday against the Red Wings. ... Right wing Steve Downie , who hit his forehead on the ice Tuesday when he slipped and fell while throwing a punch during a fight with Nashville's Shea Weber, sat out Wednesday's practice. ... C Zenon Konopka has multiple hurts (mouth stitches, a stiff neck and a sore left wrist), said he is not 100 percent sure he will play Thursday against the Red Wings. ... Alex Tanguay and Jeff Halpern practiced a day after being benched for the game with Nashville. The wings were on a line centered by Vinny Lecavalier. ... The captain, with eight goals, was a topic of conversation after his two-goals, three-point night against the Predators. "I'm hoping it's going to build the next game," he said. "I've been feeling better and better as the year has gone on. Scoring chances, stuff like that have definitely been there, so, yeah, I'm hoping I can keep going and going." Tocchet also had praise. "His defensive zone coverages have been 10 times better. That's the thing I'm really happy with. Now, the offensive game will start to come." ... Seems like the experiment with Foster and defenseman David Hale at forward is over now that Tanguay and Halpern are back in the lineup. Both Foster and Hale practiced with the defense. ... Here are some interesting numbers. Tampa Bay's 11 victories are the league's second fewest behind Carolina's seven. The Lightning's 31 points are tied for second fewest in the league, but are just two away from the East's final playoff spot.