Ryan Callahan's session on the ice Tuesday wasn't very extensive, maybe 30 minutes long.
"Just going out there for a twirl," Callahan said.
But it was also significant, as it was Callahan's first time skating since his June 21 hip surgery. After a few months of rehab, Callahan, 31, was encouraged with how he felt, his target still a mid-November return to the Lightning lineup. He had a procedure to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.
"The biggest thing is showing the progression, it's getting there, getting better," Callahan said Wednesday at the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon. "It's another step towards trying to get back to where I want it to be.
"It's a pretty big step to go out there and feels as good as it did when I'm out there."
Callahan also took some shots during his skate at the Ice Sports Forum, where a few players have gathered for informal workouts leading up to Sept. 22 start of training camp.
"You're itching to get back out there," Callahan said. "Normally this time of year, you're kind of full blown, full skating. It's been a long summer in that sense."
Callahan didn't skate Wednesday, sticking with an off-ice workout, but will likey be back on the ice Thursday. He's shooting for a return before the mid-November target date, but will make sure to be ready first.
While Callahan typically ran the informal skates last September, the rehab process may lead to another ring-leader.
"Maye someone else will have to step up this year," he said, smiling.
Callahan was scheduled to play for Team USA at the World Cup this month, before the surgery forced him to pull out. Having been a two-time Olympian, and having played for USA coach John Tortorella in New York, Callahan was asked about Tortorella's Tuesday statement that he'd bench a player who sat during the national anthem, like 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did.
Callahan didn't feel like weighing in on what's been a controversial topic.
"Torts, he's a great coach," Callahan said. "And he's exercising his right to speak his mind and say what he thinks."
NUTS AND BOLTS: D Braydon Coburn and RW J.T. Brown have been the other early arrivals to Lightning informal skates, which should pick up more next week in Brandon. Former Lightning forward Sean Bergenheim, still a free agent looking for an NHL camp tryout, also skated Wednesday.