Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hedman stays positive in face of minus-5 game

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was on the ice for every Boston goal in Saturday’s 5-0 loss at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.


Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman was on the ice for every Boston goal in Saturday’s 5-0 loss at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

TAMPA — The best thing for Victor Hedman would have been for the Lightning to play on Sunday.

That way the defenseman could have immediately put behind him Saturday's horror-show 5-0 loss to the Bruins in which he was on the ice for every goal.

You don't often see players at minus-5 in a game, and with a four-day break, Hedman must wait for Thursday against the Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks for redemption.

That is why Monday's practice at the Tampa Bay Times Forum was so important.

"He was arguably the best player in practice," coach Jon Cooper said. "He was outstanding. He had jump. He was moving. I like his response so far."

"I want to rebound," Hedman said. "I'm going to practice hard leading up to those games because how you practice is how you play."

Actually, Hedman, 22, has played quite well with three assists in eight games, eight blocked shots, 11 takeaways and only two giveaways while averaging 19:56 of ice time. In his first seven games he was plus-3.

Cooper talked up Hedman's ability to move the puck out of the defensive zone, that he anticipates correctly when to jump into the offensive flow and that "he's really used his speed to push teams back."

In the Boston game, no one played well. Defenseman Sami Salo and right wing Teddy Purcell were both minus-3. Center Steven Stamkos won just four of 13 faceoffs. Goaltender Ben Bishop was pulled.

But it was hard to ignore Hedman's minus-5 as it has been reached or exceeded only 49 times in the league since the start of the 2005-06 season, according to

Give Hedman credit, though, as he spent Sunday — a team off day — watching video of the game to see what he did wrong.

"You can't just put it behind you," he said. "You have to take a big look at yourself and what caused the problems. You have to look at it and learn from it and learn from your mistakes,"

What did Hedman see?

On David Krejci's goal, 1:32 into the game, "I have to be stronger in front of the net," he said.

On Chris Kelly's goal that made it 4-0 in the second period, "I was caught puck-watching" and was beaten to the crease.

That said, plus/minus — in which you get a plus for being on the ice when your team scores and a minus when you are on the ice for an opponent goal — is a tricky stat because it does not track fault or credit.

"Unfortunately for Heddy," Cooper said, "and I love the kid — he's a tremendous talent and he's been great for us this year — he might have deserved the minus-5. He was just on the wrong end of a lot of plays. Some of them were unlucky breaks, but some of them he created his own mess."

But given how well the 6-foot-6 Hedman has played, the belief is the Boston game was an aberration.

"Just throw that in the garbage," Salo advised his defensive partner, and added, "He's been moving well, blocking shots and playing key minutes. We're fortunate to have him on our team."

"I want to be consistent and make sure the last game was one bad game," Hedman said. "You can have bad games but you have to take a hard look and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Damian Cristodero can be reached at

Minus sign

Defenseman Victor Hedman was the seventh Lightning player with a minus-5 rating in a game (though it was the ninth occurrence), according to

Victor Hedman Oct. 19, 2013 Bruins L, 5-0
Chris Gratton Jan. 24, 2008 Senators L, 8-4
Paul Ranger Dec. 13, 2007 Flames L, 9-6
Filip Kuba Dec. 13, 2007 Flames L, 9-6
Ryan Craig Jan. 7, 2006 at Bruins L, 6-3
Bryan Marchment Jan. 14, 1998 Islanders L, 7-1
Roman Hamrlik Oct. 24, 1996 Senators L, 5-2
Chris Gratton Jan. 6, 1996 at Canucks L, 9-2
Roman Hamrlik Jan. 4, 1993 at Canucks L, 7-0

Hedman stays positive in face of minus-5 game 10/21/13 [Last modified: Monday, October 21, 2013 10:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Peter Budaj, Lightning lose to Devils in shootout; Nikita Kucherov scores

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — For Peter Budaj, Tuesday's season debut had a shaky start.

    The Lightning’s Vladislav Namestnikov, right, battles Damon Severson for the puck.
  2. Lightning's Steve Yzerman enjoying Nikita Kucherov's scoring run

    Lightning Strikes

    NEWARK, N.J. — If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, of Russia, celebrates after scoring a goal on the New Jersey Devils during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
  3. Bucs journal: Offense needs to get off to a faster start


    TAMPA — The past two games have seen the Bucs offense muster furious rallies in the fourth quarter of losses, with 229 yards against the Patriots and a franchise-record 27 points against the Cardinals.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.
  4. NFL players, owners hold 'constructive' talks on issues


    NEW YORK — NFL players and owners met Tuesday to discuss social issues, a session Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross called "constructive" and Colts defensive back Darius Butler termed "positive."

    A coalition of advocacy groups 'take a knee' outside of a hotel where members the quarterly NFL league meetings are being held on Tuesday in New York City.  Owners, players and commissioner Roger Goodell are all expected to attend. The activists spoke of having solidarity with athletes and coaches around the country who have also kneeled in protest of racial injustice, especially in policing.
 [Getty Images]
  5. Lightning's Steve Yzerman: Nikita Kucherov 'wants to be great'


    If anyone knows what it is like to be as hot as Nikita Kucherov is right now, it's Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman.

    Nikita Kucherov joined Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux and Keith Tkachuk as the only players in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his team's first six games.