Speculation over the future of Steven Stamkos is a theme this season, and until he re-signs with the Tampa Bay Lightning, that won’t go away.
On Coach’s Corner Saturday night, Cherry was compelled to weigh in on the Stamkos talk and whether he’ll stay in Tampa and sign a contract or go elsewhere.
“Here’s the deal: I said last year in the playoffs that they were going to have trouble signing Stamkos,” he said. “I’ll tell you why: you don’t put a guy — a superstar — on for 14 or 15 minutes a game. You cannot have him on the bench when there’s 35 seconds to go and you’re down one goal. And I also said that you cannot have a superstar serve a [too many men] penalty and embarrass him.
“He played his first two years at centre, he got 50 and 60 goals, and now they put him on the wing. Is it any wonder he wants to leave Tampa?”
Stamkos has struggled at times this season and just snapped a 10-game goalless drought when he scored against the Washington Capitals Friday night. With 12 goals in 33 games, Stamkos is on pace to finish with less than the 43 he potted a year ago.
Despite speculation that Stamkos is destined to leave Tampa Bay either as a free agent this summer, or via trade by the deadline, he told a local reporter that he envisions himself winning with the Lightning franchise.
But as long as he’s unsigned, and as long as he’s playing on the wing instead of at centre, speculation will swirl.
“Tampa, give your head a shake,” Ron MacLean said in closing.
Cherry also gave tribute to legendary Montreal Canadien Dickie Moore, who passed away on Saturday. Don shared a story that made an apt comparison to a current Hab.
“He was like [Brendan] Gallagher only he could score,” said Cherry.
“I went to the Montreal [training] camp and they told everyone except me that he had a bad knee and don’t hit him and I hit him in a scrimmage and got sent down to Spokane.”