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Steven Stamkos' status for the playoffs remains murky

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Unknown if or when Lightning team captain will return.

Tampa Bay Lightning Practice
Steven Stamkos recovery from blood clot surgery is what questions his return.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Steven Stamkos spoke with the press this afternoon regarding his condition and his chances for return to the Tampa Bay Lightning during the Eastern Conference Finals series with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Stamkos’ intentions are to get back into things, but there have been no cited changes in his status, and he also laid out a factor that needs to be acknowledged:

[…] I'm hoping to, but there's still a real possibility that I may not play at all in the playoffs. It's tough when you have two different parts of the spectrum. It's either you're going to be able to play or it's just not safe to play. So we still haven't come to that decision yet. That's going to take a lot of information gathering and a lot of different opinions, and obviously, I don't know when that decision is going to be made for sure to either rule in or rule out.

On the medical end, having Stamkos stay idle is likely the wiser choice – specifically for Steven Stamkos’ welfare. Putting him in this high pressure situation while the chips are down adds more pressure to his game and person – not just to make the game but also compete. For someone who hasn’t played since the end of March, someone as raised in the media spectrum? That’s one hell of a challenge, to put it loosely.

Stamkos was also asked this afternoon about what’s forthcoming as he sees medical personnel again about his condition. It seems to be more optional and potentially risky than a found-through-tests kind of situation:

There's no -- the thing with this situation, there's no data out there to support whether, you know, obviously, coming back earlier than the initial prognosis is safe or not, if there's elevated risks or not. I mean, it's such a unique situation and obviously not a common thing, that there's really no clinical studies to suggest. So there's risk management.

You have to just, like I said, do your best to gather as many opinions, gather as much information as possible so you're well educated on the risks if you do come back, realizing that it's not worth the risk. So we haven't reached that stage yet.

And the other Stamkos status, he as Bolts team captain... Stammer was asked about last night and team reaction:

[...]Different guys voiced some opinions. Obviously, they knew that effort wasn't good enough. They don't need any of us guys watching the game to know that. They know that. So definitely expect better for next game.

Self awareness by the club is a nice thing to have, but one aspect about game 3 that stands out is the inconsistency in approach by Tampa Bay. The club did step up… for about 15 minutes of the 1st period. Pittsburgh played shallow and the Lightning was intense. After that start, things reverted back to what you’ve seen in games 1 and 2. A step-up is seriously needed. Would that step-up be aided by Stamkos returning to the game and being at risk or not?