Good news Lightning fans: Victor Hedman was a full participant during Tampa Bay's first practice session in preparation for the start of its First Round playoff series versus Columbus.
The defending Norris Trophy-winning defenseman wore a regular jersey for Monday's practice, his first with his teammates since suffering an upper-body injury in the regular season home finale March 30 versus Washington. Hedman was back in his usual spot quarterbacking Tampa Bay's top power-play unit and was partnered with Dan Girardi on the Bolts' top defensive pairing.
"He looked good," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said of Hedman's participation Monday. "Just the mere fact to have him out there was nice. He hadn't been on the ice with the team in a while. It's looking encouraging."
Hedman stayed behind in Tampa and skated on his own while the rest of the team completed the regular season with a four-game road trip that concluded with Saturday's finale in Boston. Hedman leads the Lightning for average time on ice (22:46) during the regular season and paced all Bolts defensemen for goals (12), assists (42) and point (54).
The news wasn't as positive for a couple other banged-up Bolts, however.
Ryan Callahan and Anton Stralman weren't on the ice for Monday's practice session. Callahan skated in the regular season finale but played just four minutes and was held out for most of the game for what Cooper called precautionary reasons.
Stralman returned from a lower-body injury April 2 and played two games but didn't participate in the regular season finale.
Cooper said he hoped to have Callahan available for practice Tuesday when the Lightning continue preparations for Wednesday's Game 1 versus Columbus. Stralman could potentially practice as well but would appear to be behind Callahan in terms of his playoff readiness.
"He's just working through things," Cooper said when asked if Stralman had suffered a setback. "It's tough for him."