Coach’s Corner: Stamkos not getting respect he deserves

Ron MacLean and Don Cherry go over all the top news around the NHL, including why the Maple Leafs sat Bernier against the Sharks, Alex Ovechkin going for his 500th goal, and much more.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are a bit of a mess at the moment.

Heading into Saturday’s action they were on the outside of the playoff picture looking in and Jonathan Drouin’s trade request recently going public has been a distraction. The biggest issue of them all, however, revolves around Steven Stamkos and his looming free agency.

Don Cherry questioned how the Lightning have been utilizing the star after seeing the amount of ice-time Stamkos got in Friday’s 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. The Lightning captain was on the ice for 17:40 compared to his season average of 20:06.

“I don’t know what’s going on there,” Cherry said on Coach’s Corner Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada. “There’s something funny going on there. He’s not treated with the respect he should be treated.”

Stamkos is set to become an unrestricted free agent following the season and speculation has swirled about his future in Tampa.

“Steven has come out publicly and said he hopes to remain with the Lightning and hopes we can work out a deal and that he wins a Stanley Cup as captain of the Tampa Bay Lightning,” Lightning GM Steve Yzerman told Sportsnet Saturday. “That’s what we want as well and we’ll continue to work towards that.”