Steven Stamkos on recovery: ‘Could be weeks. Could be months’

Ron MacLean and Don Cherry talk about the opening period between the Lightning and Islanders, Game 7 between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators, and an unwritten rule.

TAMPA, Fla. – Steven Stamkos sat down at his locker, put on a Tampa Bay Lightning hooded sweatshirt, leaned back on the wooden bench and sheepishly shook his head when the first question he jokingly faced was whether he was fit to play Saturday.

“I wish,” Stamkos said, with a slight grin.

It was the third consecutive day the Tampa captain had practiced with the Lightning, albeit in a red, non-contact jersey. While his team lost Game 1 of their second round playoff series to the Islanders on Wednesday night, he was working out and getting in treatment sessions. Stamkos felt helpless, watching on television in a therapy room as New York won 5-3.

“The frustrating part is that I’m feeling close to game shape,” Stamkos said Thursday. “You know with a broken hand or a broken ankle that physically you can’t go. But my body feels pretty good.”

Stamkos had surgery April 4 after a blood clot was found in his right shoulder. The procedure treated a type of Vascular Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and doctors said he could return to the ice in “one-to-three months.” Next Wednesday would hit the 30-day mark since surgery.

“It’s a waiting game,” Stamkos said. “No timetable. No special doctor to see.”

“It could be weeks,” Stamkos added. “It could be months.”

Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.

“That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said after his on-ice workout.

“I wait it out, I work in the gym, I work on the ice and wait for the doctors to tell me what’s next.”

Before the best-of-seven against the Islanders began, Lightning head coach Jon Cooper told reporters that “we fully expect to play the series without (Stamkos).”

There was no further update on star defenceman Anton Stralman, who was lost to a broken fibula on March 25 and the hasn’t been practising. Cooper said Erik Condra, knocked out of the game by Casey Cizikas on a huge hit in the series opener, is “doing a lot better than the actual hit looked.” Condra likely won’t practice on Friday, but Cooper said “he’s fine and in good spirits.”

While Condra may play Game 2, on Thursday Stamkos simply said: “I hope I’m back at some point in the playoffs.”


While most hockey fans are aware that Stamkos and Islanders captain John Tavares were once teammates on Canada’s world junior team, they may not know the pair were on one of the greatest summer teenage teams every assembled. The Ontario Blues not only had Stamkos and Tavares, but Alex Pietrangelo and Michael Del Zotto were also on the roster. Michael Hutchison was the team’s goaltender.

The Blues went 49-0-1 with their lone loss coming to a team from Ottawa in a shootout.

“My dad was coaching that team, and he picked Johnny over me in the shootout,” Stamkos gleefully pointed out. “He blew it. Yeah, Johnny blew it. So be sure to tell him. I hope it gets under his skin.”

Tavares, like every Islanders regular – save Johnny Boychuk — did not practice Thursday. The cross-examination on the missed perfect summer season will come Friday.

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