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Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos sets sights on a return this week

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The recovering superstar center targets his return for later in the week.

Mike Carlson

Steven Stamkos continues practicing with the team, recently graduating from no-contact and light-contact sweaters to a standard practice jersey (meaning he's open season again).

During recent games in eastern Canada, you almost expected Stamkos to take pregame line rushes with the rest of the team before being nixed from starting. His recovery seems that close to being complete, yet it's still so, so far away.

Today in Minnesota, where the Lightning were practicing in anticipation of their game against the Wild tomorrow, Stamkos gave the world a better idea of how close (or far) he is from returning to regular action -- about six days... or another month.

Stamkos has been out since November 11th after breaking his tibia. I don't need to rehash this for you (we've got a story stream with all our coverage on it, after all). Stamkos playing the last game for the Lightning before the Olympic break would help him gauge if he's go or no-go for Team Canada in the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will be played this month in Sochi, Russia.