Victor Hedman and the Tampa Bay Lightning have unfinished enterprise
The elite defenseman is again at residence in Sweden in the course of the quarantine, however he is ensuring to remain on level as a lot as he can. As soon as the season resumes, his crew has a really apparent mission to finish.Victor Hedman|Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY SportsLike many of the world, Victor Hedman is residence proper now. The towering Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman is again in Sweden, protecting in form because of his residence health club and ready for additional directions. As soon as NHL hockey returns nevertheless, there isn’t a mistaking the marching orders for Hedman and his Bolts.
“Once we begin enjoying hockey once more, our mission is to win, that’s the underside line,” he mentioned. “When that’s, we don’t know. However as soon as we’re again on the ice, we’re going to get that feeling again in a short time. Nothing has modified in that regard.”
Although the Lightning fell to Columbus in some of the surprising playoff upsets ever final season (getting swept because the Presidents’ Trophy winners will do this), it was laborious to not decide Tampa Bay to get revenge on the league in 2019-20. In spite of everything, the crew had talent and game-breakers at each place, from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy to forwards Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Level. On protection, Hedman led a patrol that additionally included veterans comparable to Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Shattenkirk, to not point out younger gun Mikhail Sergachev.
On the time of the quarantine stoppage, Tampa Bay sat second within the Atlantic Division. The Bolts had ceded first place to the Boston Bruins attributable to a 3-6-1 Lightning slide, however with all of the expertise accessible on that roster, it’s not misplaced to surprise if that adversity was an excellent lesson for Tampa Bay, a crew that had cruised to the Presidents’ Trophy final yr earlier than the gorgeous upset towards the Blue Jackets.
For Hedman, it has been enterprise as normal this yr, with 55 factors by way of 66 video games. That’s really a barely higher factors tempo than he ended up with in 2017-18, the yr he gained the Norris Trophy. Whereas nobody presently is aware of how voting will go in 2019-20, Hedman would a minimum of be within the combine as soon as once more with friends comparable to Nashville’s Roman Josi and Washington’s John Carlson. For sure, getting that first nod was fairly the affirmation for the massive Swede.
“It was a really cool feeling, one thing you dream about,” Hedman mentioned. “There aren’t an entire lot of particular person trophies for defensemen to win. I’ve been a finalist thrice now and it’s much more enjoyable whenever you go there and win. I focus probably the most on my crew successful video games, however to do this I count on myself to attempt to be the very best participant on the ice each night time.”
Even earlier than the Norris, Hedman had been placing up large numbers from the blueline and it’s humorous how his greatest offensive season but – 72 factors in 79 video games again in 2016-17 – didn’t internet him the trophy. Sadly, San Jose’s Brent Burns had 76 factors that yr and voters have tended to reward gross factors in terms of the Norris.
Like the remainder of the NHL, Hedman would like to be on the ice proper now, however on the identical time he is aware of the restart should be performed in a secure method.
“It’s powerful, however I’m staying in form,” he mentioned. “I need to be prepared if the season resumes. Staying near household and pals in these powerful instances has been essential – however clearly being good about it. I’m simply ready to see what the NHL and the gamers give you.”
Regardless of the format is, Hedman and the Bolts will get an opportunity to exorcise these playoff demons of the previous. This group won’t ever be outgunned in a sequence, however the Bolts should discover a option to put all of it collectively on the proper time, one thing that has eluded them to this point. However with Hedman main the blueline, they’ve received an excellent likelihood of creating it occur very quickly.
Tags: tampa bay lightning, nhlConnect: Concerning the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect knowledgeable at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all known as his home. He lives in Toronto along with his spouse and youngsters the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.