Blog Entry

Hedman expected to return for Lightning vs. Caps

Posted on: January 30, 2012 9:02 pm
Hedman has been out since Dec. 27. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Tampa Bay Lightning haven't rebounded well from last season's Eastern Conference final showing. They have struggled for a repeat. But they did go into the All-Star break making some noise, winning four games in a row to keep them within sight of the Panthers and Capitals in the Southeast.

If they are going to cut further into their nine-point hole, it will serve them well to get the defensive corps healthy, particularly Victor Hedman.

Which is exactly what's happening after the All-Star break.

The Lightning hit the ice on Monday evening and Hedman joined them, without his no-contact jersey and all. Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times says that Hedman is indeed a go when the Bolts take on the Capitals on Tuesday.

The third overall draft pick two years ago, Hedman has been out since Dec. 27 dealing with a concussion. For a team that already struggles defensively and in goal with Hedman, his return is more than welcome as he is arguably their top defenseman.

His return comes at the right time for the Bolts. As mentioned, they have run off four consecutive wins, making Tuesday's game huge. If they are able to beat the Capitals in regulation, they will move seven points behind the Panthers and Caps for the division lead, but if they lose in regulation, their deficit becomes 11 points.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or