Steven Stamkos is back on skates
Lightning star Steven Stamkos skated with his teammates for the first time on Saturday before the morning skate at the Prudential Center. Stamkos did some stick-handling drills and passed pucks with captain Marty St. Louis and defenseman Victor Hedman.
Stamkos was on skates two other times earlier in the week, but this was the first time he was visible to reporters and engaged with teammates.
"Medical advances, I guess," joked Stamkos, who broke his right tibia Nov. 11 at Boston and had surgery shortly thereafter to put a titanium rod and screws in the bone. "I'm feeling good. Everything is on track. The four-week X-rays look good. I'm just starting to progress and make sure there are no setbacks, but I'm feeling really good."
That said, Stamkos reiterated he has no target date for a return. "I still wouldn't say it is," he said. "There is healing taking place in the bone but by no means is it close to being fully healed, so only time will tell. But we've definitely ramped up the rehab part of it, whether it was in the water treadmill, in the gym, on the ice."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Anders Lindback gets the start in net tonight against the Devils. ... Tampa Bay, which has used 11 forwards and seven defensemen lately, will go back to 12-6 with Pierre-Cedric Labrie (arm/elbow) back in the lineup and defenseman Matt Barberio out. ... Defenseman Victor Hedman (lower body) skated a couple of drills with the team at the morning skate, but likely will not play on the current road trip that also goes through Detroit and Long Island. Coach Jon Cooper said Hedman perhaps will be ready when the team goes back home. "Obviously, it's not where I want to be," Hedman said. "But it's one step forward and I'm real excited about that." ... Defenseman Matt Taormina, who was in the Devils organization from 2009-12 and played 47 games with the big club, said facing your former team always is special. "They gave me my first shot. They gave me my first NHL deal," he said. "I owe a lot to them."