Hedman missed Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders and ruled himself out of today’s game at Washington as well with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Hedman did not play after the first period against Carolina on Thursday, coming out to test the injury before the start of the second period but returning to the locker room.
There is no timetable for his return.
“It’s just a lower-body injury. I’m day-to-day,” said Hedman, who did not take part in Saturday’s morning skate. “Something obviously happened, but we’ll take it day by day, get a lot of ice and then we’ll see.’’
Hedman is second on the team in average ice time at 22 minutes, 22 seconds per game and is a plus-8. His absence creates a void in the lineup.
“Victor Hedman is a big part of our team,’’ coach Jon Cooper said. “There is no replacement for him.’’
Tampa Bay called up D Matt Taormina from Syracuse of the American Hockey League, providing some NHL experience as the 26-year-old appeared in 47 games with New Jersey over the past two seasons.
“We wanted to put somebody in here who has some experience, and we are not at a point of the season where we are throwing the towel in, we are at a point where we need to win, and we felt Matt was the best to fill that for us,” Cooper said. “He really sees the ice, he can skate and move pucks. And in my short time here we need to be better in breaking pucks out of our end, and he’s good at that.”
Taormina, who suffered a lower back injury on the second day of training camp that cost him six weeks of playing time, said he is feeling back on top of his game.
“I’ve been back for about a month now and I’m feeling back to my game,’’ said Taormina, who has four goals and 21 points in 50 games with Syracuse this season. “When I first came back I was not feeling 100 percent healthy … It just took time, and so far it’s been good.’’
Back to campus; Nassau Coliseum sits across the street from the campus of Hofstra University, where Cooper played lacrosse and earned his undergraduate degree. He spent a good portion of Friday exploring his old stomping grounds.