Defenseman Victor Hedman, who tonight will miss his 13th game because of a concussion, skated at the the Tampa Bay Lightning's morning skate on Tuesday, though with a red no-contact jersey, and said he is aiming for a Jan. 31 return against the Capitals.
Coach Guy Boucher said it is "a possibility" Hedman will play in that game.
That's was the good news for the Lightning. The bad news is that right wing Dana Tyrell could be out for a significant amount of time with what is believed a right knee injury. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman is expected to give a report during tonight's game with the Blue Jackets. Tyrell previously needed surgery on his right knee that was injured before the 2009 world junor championship, ironically on a clean, hard check thrown by Sweden's Hedman in a pre-tournament game with Canada.
Tyrell, 22, has just five assists in 26 games while averaging 10:30 of ice time. But Boucher said losing Tyrell will be felt.
"I strongly believe that any team that does well has a lot of good foot soldiers and he's definitely one of those guys," Boucher said. "People will label players as a hitter, a fighter, a scorer or a passer. There's one type of individual we never label and they are puck retrievers. Probably the most important guys in the game. That's what he does best. If he's not able to play, it's less pucks for the team, for sure."
The potential return of Hedman, though, was the day's biggest story. The 6-foot-6, 229-pounder is averaging 22:28 of ice time and was on the No. 1 pairing with Eric Brewer.
"It's a lot of fun to be on the ice with the boys," Hedman, 21, said. "I mean it feels like forever since I've been on the ice."
Hedman said his symptoms are completely gone.
"The biggest symptom I have right now is trying to breathe," he said after the tough workout. "It's a matter of time when I get back into game shape. ... The last couple of days have been awesome. You work your (behind) off and you're tired, but the best feeling right now is being tired and feeling good afterward. That's the best feeling I can feel right now."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Mathieu Garon, who beat Columbus back in December, gets the start in net. ... Forward Mike Angelidis, a call-up from AHL Norfolk, will make his NHL debut. ... Defenseman Evan Oberg will finally get to play in a game on his seventh call-up from Norfolk. "I'm happy for him," Boucher said. "The guy has been up and down waiting for an opportunity to contribute." Boucher said Oberg, as a seventh defenseman, likely won't get a lot of minutes. But Oberg seemed thrilled just to get in a game. "It's awesome, said the player who hasn't been in an NHL game since Feb. 19, 2011 for the Canucks. "I've been just waiting for a shot." Oberg said his family is in Mexico for his sister's wedding, "So, I'm sure they'll be all around the laptop."