While some members of the Tampa Bay Lightning continue to represent not only their native country, but also their NHL team at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, others returned home to do just that in front of the home crowd rather than those in attendance at the Winter Games.
Lightning defensemen Victor Hedman and Mike Lundin headlined the fifth successful installment of the McDonald’s “Ice Hot” Radio Show on Tuesday, February 23 in Brandon in front of approximately 100 familiar faces.
It was clear that both players took full advantage of the week and a half hiatus due to the Olympic break, as Lundin spent his vacation canoeing around Tampa Bay “looking for alligators,” although he admitted it wasn’t clear on whether or not that’s really how it happened, fearing that the alligators might have actually been looking for him.
Hedman, on the other hand, after a seven-day vacation in Mexico, “forgot” how to speak English as he attempted to answer a fan’s question. The voice of Lightning Radio Dave Mishkin, who broadcasted the show live on AM 620 WDAE, chipped in by attempting to translate Hedman’s response, but to no avail.
“I think I was out in the sun too long or something,” Hedman said. “But I promise to be back next week versus the Flyers.”
Indeed, both Hedman and Lundin expressed their excitement about finishing the season strong with a push for the playoffs, citing the need for consistency and playing all 60 minutes of a game as the keys to accomplishing their goal of earning a berth in the post-season. They even found additional motivation through watching their teammates compete in international competition north of the border.
Their own Lightning comrades, however, were not the only ones worthy of their affection.
The pair of Bolts blue liners named two current Olympians, Sweden’s Peter Forsberg and Finland’s Teemu Selanne, as their favorite players growing up as kids, while Washington’s Alex Ovechkin, who is currently representing Russia in the Vancouver Games, earned the mutual distinction of being the toughest NHL player to defend.
Hedman evened weighed in on the Olympic rivalry between his native Sweden and neighboring Finland, which he likened to the opposition between the United States and Canada. As for Lundin, his greatest opposition still resides with himself, admitting that he does not enjoy the constant shift of putting on and taking off his pads during practice and between intermissions.
“It’s still pretty annoying. I didn’t enjoy it much growing up and I still don’t particularly like it,” Lundin said.
Hedman and Lundin proceeded to the parking lot to sign autographs and pose for pictures with fans as the Q&A portion of show wrapped up. The Lightning Mobile Marketing Truck and the Lightning Girls were also in attendance, providing fans with the chance to score free giveaways and to win tickets to upcoming Lightning home games.
“I think the “Ice Hot” series gets better every time,” resident Lightning fan Stephanie Cates said. “I always look forward to see who’s coming next so I can have the chance to meet them and get to know what they’re like as a person. The team really does a great job in putting this together to interact with the community.”