Earlier this week, Steven Stamkos spoke to the press in Minnesota and stated his intentions to play on Saturday at home against the Detroit Red Wings - the final game for the Tampa Bay Lightning before the franchise goes dormant during the NHL's 2014 Winter Olympic break which runs through late February.
Nix those plans. All of them.
Stamkos was scheduled on Wednesday to have x-rays performed in Tampa on his recovering right leg to see how he is progressing. It would appear he's not yet ready for prime time because a team press release and a flurry of tweets have made it clear that that Stamkos has not been cleared to resume play:
"After reviewing the CT scan this afternoon, Dr. Gutentag made it clear to me and to Steven that the tibia is not completely healed and therefore he should not be participating in game action at any time in the near future," Yzerman said in making the announcement. "Although the doctor was very pleased to this point with the healing process, he explained that the callus surrounding the fracture site is not 100 percent consolidated, and Steven will not be cleared to play in a game until that happens. It was a pretty clear cut decision, no gray areas at all."
This may be disappointing but it's for the best -- Stamkos playing injured does not benefit the Lightning nor Team Canada. Recovery-wise, Stamkos benefits with the Olympic break and will be ready to go on or around the time the NHL resumes play at the end of the moth -- right on time for the stretch run to the playoffs.
The fact that he was this-close shows his willingness to fight and endure to achieve (much like this FanPost highlighted). It's something to keep in mind in the days and weeks ahead,
For Team Canada? They have a deep enough bench that it shouldn't be a worry that they don't have Stamkos. I mean, look at the Lightning roster alone -- they could grab Martin St. Louis if they wanted... Oh! Wait! That's an idea! And the speculation has started immediately that St. Louis is Candidate One to replace Stamkos. Claude Giroux's name has also been mentioned. This article is in the process of being updated. Please check back.
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