Lightning’s Victor Hedman ready to return to action after injury

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The Tampa Bay Lightning’s best defenseman is set to return to the team’s lineup Tuesday in Nashville.

Victor Hedman, who suffered a head injury against Dallas, practiced on Monday and seems ready for his comeback.

“I got through practice today with no limits in my game, so we’ll see what decision they make tomorrow,’’ Hedman told The Tampa Tribune.

Hedman emerged in last season’s playoffs as one of the most solid defenders in the NHL.

“We all know what a big part of our hockey team he is, so we missed him drastically on Saturday,’’ associate coach Rick Bowness said. “It’s nice to see that we can win games without him, but we certainly need him in our lineup.’’

Hedman was hit by forward Jamie Benn late in the second period, with the impact knocking Hedman’s head into the boards. Hedman skated on his own on Sunday and was cleared to return to practice.

“You are always concerned, but with the new technology and the new helmets you are pretty safe,’’ he said. “But I had my head down looking at the ice, so I have to make sure that I have my head up more and don’t put myself in that position. It was a clean hit, just a bang-bang play. But the most important thing is how I feel right now and I feel great, so I’m looking forward to this trip.’’

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.