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Global Series

Hedman practices for Lightning, encouraged about playing in Global Series

Defenseman, who's been sidelined because of lower-body injury, eyes return against Sabres

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Senior Director of Editorial

STOCKHOLM -- Victor Hedman practiced with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, moving a critical step closer to being ready for the 2019 NHL Global Series against the Buffalo Sabres this weekend at Ericsson Globe.

"It's obviously encouraging that I was on the ice," said the defenseman, who had not skated since sustaining a lower-body injury Oct. 29 against the New York Rangers. "But, as of right now, like I have said, it is still day to day. This is a step in the right direction."

Coach Jon Cooper had said he needed to see Hedman on the ice by Tuesday to seriously consider having him play against the Sabres on Friday (2 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN1, NHL.TV) and/or Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN1, SUN, MSG-B, NHL.TV).

"We're bringing him along slowly," Cooper said Tuesday. "All I can say is how he said he felt on the ice. He said he felt good. We have an off day tomorrow, so take advantage of that. And then we don't practice [until] late on Thursday, so it's kind of working out well for him. So, we'll see what happens."

The Sweden-born Hedman could be a tour guide for his teammates Wednesday when they explore Stockholm. Then the hope is that he will be able to take part Thursday in practice, which is open to fans.

"If you see him on the top of the power play Thursday, if we work on our power play, then that pretty much might spell the answer for you," Cooper said.

Hedman, who has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 11 games this season, has missed the past two games and did not take part in the first two practices in Sweden on Sunday and Monday.

"Watching practice for two days wasn't what I expected when we knew we were going to be coming here," Hedman said. "I was out there [today] for a while and it felt good."

Hedman, who is from Ornskoldsvik, a coastal city approximately 330 miles north of Stockholm, is the Lightning's only Sweden-born player.

His teammates were happy to see him practice and rejoin them on the ice for the first time in a week.

"Obviously, we want him to play in the next game," captain Steven Stamkos said. "We have a day off tomorrow, and then hopefully he can go and be ready."

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