Yzerman: Stamkos' recovery 'right on course'
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said while there's still no definite return date for captain Steven Stamkos, he's "right on course" in his recovery from knee surgery.
Yzerman, speaking Thursday on the team's online morning skate show, said Stamkos visited with his surgeon last week and "they're pleased with how he looks and where he's at."
Stamkos had surgery Nov. 17 to repair a torn lateral meniscus and was expected to miss four months, which would put his return sometime in March.
"It's still, for Stammer, relatively early," Yzerman said on the show. "Again, the procedure that he had -- in the big picture -- is very positive. They were able to repair the cartilage, and so far, every indication is that healing is right on course and it's going to heal and he's going to be fine. And that's the best-case scenario is to repair the cartilage and you go on and you resume your career. So, that's good. It's still relatively early to have a date and say he's going to be back -- March 15, April 1 or whatnot. So, he's progressing well."
Yzerman also provided an update on wing Ryan Callahan, who continues to rehab his right hip, which has given him issues even after June's surgery. The Lightning announced in mid-January Callahan would be out four more weeks, but Yzerman said there's no definite return date.
"Cally's a little bit different," Yzerman said. "We've tried some things. He's had obviously some issues that have been recurring since coming back from surgery, and it's kept him out of the lineup. Right now, he's just in a phase where he's strengthening. We're trying to get him back to 100 percent strength, and get him back to play. When he returns to play, I don't have a date for you for that either, but both guys are progressing in the right direction."
Yzerman still believes the Lightning, six points out of a playoff spot, can make a run to get into the postseason.
"We're really in playoff mode every night," Yzerman said on the show. "You know how it is in the playoffs: You win a game, you're sky-high. You lose a game, it's the end of the world but you get ready for the next one. That's the mode we're in right now. I know we're very disappointed -- everyone's frustrated and disappointed with the loss (Tuesday) against Boston. But you've got to turn around. This is a playoff game for us tonight (against Ottawa) to win it. Had we beaten Boston, we were four points back with two games in hand. Boston went into Washington (Wednesday) night and lost in Washington. We win tonight, we're four points back with two games in hand again. So, that's the way we've got to look at it. Let's just win tonight and we'll worry about Saturday's game (against Anaheim) and get ready for that one. So, we're in the playoffs right now. We're in a dog fight, and we've got to try and figure out a way every night to win, regardless of what happened the previous game."