The Tampa Bay Lightning got a welcomed sight Thursday morning when defenseman Victor Hedman joined them for an on-ice workout for the first time in a month. The fact that he took shots for the first time was an even better sign for a team that has weathered the storm well since Hedman left the lineup after breaking the index finger on his right hand in mid-October.
Nobody was happier, perhaps than Hedman himself, than Lightning coach Jon Cooper, whose team has gone 10-4-1 in his absence.
“I don’t want to throw numbers out but he’s a top-10-slash-top-five defenseman in the NHL,” Cooper said. “You pull the top defenseman from any team in this league and everybody would have issues. We’ve weathered this storm without him, but we can’t go much longer.”