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Lightning players not worried about going helmetless in warmups

"You've just got to keep your head up," Victor Hedman says.
Steven Stamkos is one of five Lightning players who don't wear a helmet during warmups. He was hit in the head by a puck before Thursday's game against the Islanders but was fine. (Gettty Images)
Steven Stamkos is one of five Lightning players who don't wear a helmet during warmups. He was hit in the head by a puck before Thursday's game against the Islanders but was fine. (Gettty Images)
Published Mar. 25, 2018

NEWARK, N.J. — Steven Stamkos is one of a handful of Lightning players who don't wear a helmet during warmups.

It's a cool, old-school look.

It doesn't come without risk, however, as Stamkos found out Thursday when he took a puck off the back of his head. He left warmups early but played in the 7-6 win over the Islanders. And before Saturday's game against the Devils, Stamkos again let his locks flow.

So did Victor Hedman, J.T. Miller, Dan Girardi and Alex Killorn.

"I like it," Hedman said. "I think it's something that the NHL is famous for. It's something that you look up to when you're younger — guys without helmets — and you think maybe one day you get to do it."

RELATED: Time to appreciate the Lightning's special season.

Hedman has gone helmetless for about 500 games, at the urging of his mentor and fellow Swede Mattias Ohlund.

"You've got to listen to the old papa bear," Hedman quipped. "He told me to take it off, and I did, and that's how it's been since."

Girardi said this is his first season doing it, figuring he would give it a try after not being allowed to do it in his previous 11 years with the Rangers. New York had a rule against it (so it's no surprise fellow former Rangers Miller and Ryan Callahan have tried the look in Tampa).

Girardi said he took a stick off the face before the March 1 game against Dallas but otherwise has been okay. He said he never goes too close to the net, trying to stay from the hashmarks out.

"You've just got to keep your head up," Hedman said. "So far, thankfully (he knocked on a wall), so far, so good."

Any close calls?

"I'm too tall," Hedman, 6 feet 6, said, smiling. "It'd just hit me in the chest."

Callahan update

RW Callahan joined the Lightning on its two-game road trip, rehabilitating the upper-body injury he suffered Tuesday against Toronto. Coach Jon Cooper said he expected Callahan to return by the end of the regular season April 7. There are seven games left.

"I just don't know when," Cooper said.

Palat on point

LW Ondrej Palat figured it would take a few games to get his timing back after missing 26 with a lower-body injury. But you can already see flashes of the old Palat in his three games back. He had an assist and two blocked shots in Thursday's win over the Islanders, and had the Lightning's only goal in a 2-1 loss to the Devils on Saturday.

"I can already see the improvement," Cooper said before the Devils game. "And he should continue to get better."

Slap shots

• The Lightning's two too-many-men penalties taken Thursday against the Islanders matched its total from the previous 74 games combined, the Elias Sports Bureau said. "Just mental errors," Cooper said.

• G Andrei Vasilevskiy made his 60th start of the season (61st game). The Lightning went with the same lineup as Thursday, with Andrej Sustr as the seventh defenseman and F Cory Conacher, F Cedric Paquette, D Jake Dotchin, D Slater Koekkoek and G Peter Budaj scratched.

• You can bet G Louis Domingue has circled Monday's expected start against Arizona, which let him go in October.

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