Rapid Fire: with Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman talks about his first big purchase, and his role model growing up.

With Ryan Kennedy

Who was your role model growing up?

Nick Lidstrom was a big role model, but I wouldn’t say we play the same game. I like the way Ray Bourque played. I liked guys who skated with the puck, like Paul Coffey.

Why do you wear No. 77?

That was Ray Bourque. I watched a lot of Colorado growing up, with Peter Forsberg. Joe Sakic gave Bourque the Cup right away, and I thought that was pretty neat. I was No. 41 back home, but that was taken by Mike Smith in Tampa, so No. 77 came to mind pretty quickly.

What was your initial big purchase after signing your first contract?

I got my driver’s license the week before I came over, so I bought a Lexus. A lot of suits, too – that was new to me, wearing a suit to a game.

What was your “welcome to the NHL” moment?

Chris Neil got me pretty good in Ottawa, I remember that. Maybe taught me to keep my head up a little better.

READ ALSO:  Tretiak says he has Putin, Harper backing to recreate 1972 Cold War on ice

What is your favorite way to score?

Point shot through a screen. Maybe coast-to-coast? That’s pretty hard these days, though. Any goal is good.

What advice would you give to your 13-year-old self?

It’s a roller coaster ride. Coming over you thought you would play 82 games no problem, but it’s so hard to keep your consistency, especially when you’re 18. Prepare yourself to face adversity.

What rule change would you like to see?

I like the 3-on-3 overtime. Maybe it should be longer than five minutes.
This is an edited version of a feature that appeared in the June 20 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get in-depth features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.