Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman back at practice

NASHVILLE — Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman returned to practice Monday with no limitations, a good indication he'll be ready to return to the lineup tonight against the Predators.

Hedman has been sidelined since sustaining a head injury Thursday against Dallas, after his head slammed into the boards on a hit by Jamie Benn. But Hedman skated Sunday and fully participated in Monday's practice. The Lightning is encouraged that it wasn't worse. Hedman has had two previous documented concussions since arriving in the NHL in 2008.

"It's not the first time it's happened," Hedman said. "I've been here for seven years; I've been through it a couple times before. I know how I feel when I'm normal."

Benn's hit was a clean shoulder check with five minutes left in the second period. Hedman shouldered some blame, saying he should have kept his head up on the "bang-bang" play.

"I didn't see him," Hedman said. "I lost track of the puck, tried to get back in position and I had my eyes down on the ice and didn't see him coming. He's not a dirty player; he's a hard-working player, a physical player. I admire the way he plays. He finished the check."

Hedman was attended to by head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan and went through the concussion protocol in the dressing room.

"There was concern," Hedman said. "But at the same time, with the new technology and new helmets, you know you're pretty safe."

Associate coach Rick Bowness knew Hedman would be fine after looking into his eyes Saturday night.

"You look at those guys who are suffering from concussions, it's sometimes a little bit cloudy in there," Bowness said. "But Victor, his eyes were alive and bright, and you figure he'd be back by Tuesday. Fortunately it wasn't that severe."

The Lightning felt confident enough that it reassigned defenseman Slater Koekkoek back to AHL Syracuse on Sunday. Nikita Nesterov still has one game left on his suspension, so Hedman is just one of six active defensemen on Tampa Bay's roster.

Getting Hedman, a Norris Trophy caliber defenseman, back is a big boost before a four-game trip.

"We all know what a big part of our hockey club he is," Bowness said. "We missed him drastically on Saturday (in a 2-1 win over Buffalo). It's nice we can win games without him, but we certainly need him in our lineup."

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman back at practice 10/19/15 [Last modified: Monday, October 19, 2015 8:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.

  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  3. Rays journal: Rays tie franchise home run record

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — A major flaw in the Rays offense this season — and thus a major reason for their inconsistent play and losing record — has been too much reliance on the home run.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Ww's Odessabeach makes run at Husker Magic stakes final

    Parimutuels

    ST. PETERSBURG — When Hurricane Irma blew through Florida earlier this month, Ww's Odessabeach remained in her comfort zone.

  5. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.