The scary lower body injury Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman suffered when he collided knee-to-knee with Calgary’s Garnet Hathaway in a 5-1 loss Thursday to the Flames will sideline Hedman 3-6 weeks, the team announced.
That puts Hedman’s return in the Feb. 2-23 window, which would mean missing anywhere from seven to 17 games.
“We have some elite players on this team, but on the back end, he’s our rock back there,” Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told the Tampa Bay Times following Thursday’s loss. “He can help dictate the play of how we’re doing things. It’s not like we haven’t lost him before, but the big worry would be if it’s long term.”
The Lightning possess the NHL’s best record and the most All Stars, with four.
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That includes Hedman, who reportedly underwent tests Friday while Tampa Bay is off for a week.
Hedman, who picked up the injury in the second period of Thursday’s loss to Calgary, has been a rock for the Lightning this season.
He entered Thursday’s game ranked third in the NHL in points for a defenseman with 33 (six goals, 27 assists).
Hedman hasn’t missed a game this season, though he did miss a month during the 2014-15 season, so Tampa Bay has dealt with his absence before.
The Lightning return to action next Thursday with a home game against Vegas.