Stamkos' surgery on broken right tibia could end his season
The Lightning's season flashed before the team's eyes Monday when star center Steven Stamkos was taken off the ice on a stretcher after a hard collision with the right post in the second period in a game with the Bruins at TD Garden.
The Lightning said Stamkos has a broken right tibia and will have surgery Tuesday at Massachusetts General Hospital. Rays team orthopedist Koco Eaton said, generally, rehab from such a procedure could be as long as six to nine months with eight to 12 weeks of no weight-bearing activity which could include water therapy.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman called the injury just an "unfortunate accident," saying for whatever reason the goal post did not release quickly when Stamkos hit it full force.
Stamkos, going hard on defense with Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton right behind him hit the post with his right shin. Replays showed the leg snapping in a way it shouldn't. Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback immediately called for trainers as Stamkos pounded the ice in pain.
You can view the injury here.
"I was just trying to drive the net. He was too fast for me," Hamilton told reporters. "We both just went to the net. I don't know what happened. he fell and hit the post pretty hard. Like I said, it's unfortunate and kind of hard to see that happen."
Stamkos remained on the ice for several minutes surrounded by five Lightning players and was taken off the ice on a stretcher while with his right leg supported. He was taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Tampa Bay left wing Alex Killorn, who was on the ice when the play happened, said Stamkos didn't say much except how much "he wanted to get off the ice."
"He was obviously in pain," Killorn said. "He didn't say much but we knew he was hurting."
Losing Stamkos would be a dramatic turn of events for the resurgent Lightning, which entered the game leading the Eastern Conference.
Stamkos, 23, entered the game tied for the league lead with 14 goals and 23 points and was a lock to make the Canadian team for the Sochi Olympics.
He was on a six-game goal-scoring streak, the longest current streak in the league and his 199 goals since the start of the 2009-10 season were 34 more than any other player.
How big is his loss? Consider what Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop said the other day, "He is the best player in the world, speed, the way he hits people. He competes. He wants to score. And his shot is unbelievable."