Monday, July 16, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Decision could come this week on Steven Stamkos

PITTSBURGH — For weeks, captain Steven Stamkos has been in a "holding pattern," feeling good enough to play but not knowing if he'd get the chance.

But it sounds like there could be a decision soon, potentially this week.

The key seems to be whether Stamkos will have to remain on the blood thinner medication, Lovenox, which he has injected twice a day since having surgery April 4 to repair a blood clot in his collarbone area. Stamkos could be given a different regimen that would let him play.

Stamkos made it clear he won't risk his long-term health even if it means chasing the Stanley Cup, and he, with family members and doctors, will evaluate test results and collaborate to make the call.

"There's still a chance I can play in this series, there's still a chance I may not be able to play the rest of the playoffs," Stamkos said. "That's honestly the truth. It's tough for me to feel so physically close. But whether it's Game 3, 4 or 5, or whether it's the reality that it's just not going to be in the best interest of my long-term health to play in the playoffs. Those are questions we're getting closer and closer to getting answered.

"We could come to a conclusion after all of our research that it's just not safe enough to play at all in these playoffs. That's the reality that I'm living with."

Stamkos has kept pushing himself since rejoining practices April 26 and shed the red non-contact jersey in practices this week. He might be in the best shape he has been in all season. But Stamkos reiterates it's "safety first, health first."

"I know as an athlete, you're willing to do whatever it takes," he said. "Trust me, I've tried. But that's the toughest part, for sure, to try to walk that line."

Stamkos said they've explored the possibility of altering his regimen of blood thinner medication, reassured to know some NHL players, like Kimmo Timonen, have done and successfully returned to the ice.

"Those guys who have played have done an injection, skipped a dose, played and they're ultimately as safe as anyone in this room," Stamkos said.

Stamkos' blood clot — thoracic outlet syndrome — is a different condition than Timonen had but the same one backup goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had in September. Vasilevskiy was out for seven weeks. Dr. Karl Illig, Stamkos' surgeon, said a player on Lovenox can resume playing 8-10 hours after getting off it.

The key question is, how does a doctor know when Stamkos is ready to get off blood thinners? Illig, speaking generally, said it's pretty subjective. Illig said some of it involves the clot burden, status of vessels and the patient's psychology. Everyone reacts differently.

Even when the blood thinner decision is made, Stamkos admits he'll have to participate in a couple of practices and get "bumped" before returning.

Lining up: G Andrei Vasilevskiy started in net for Ben Bishop (left leg), who did not participate in the morning skate, instead doing an off-ice workout. D Anton Stralman (fractured left leg) returned to the lineup and scored a goal in his first game since March 25. RW Ryan Callahan was scratched; coach Jon Cooper said he had the flu "really bad" and hoped Callahan could return for Game 3. RW Jonathan Marchessault and D Slater Koekkoek played, with D Nikita Nesterov and RW Erik Condra scratched.

Comments
Here’s our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

Here’s our Mount Rushmore for the Lightning

The Lightning just celebrated its 25th anniversary season — long enough to have a Mount Rushmore.Here it is:Marty St. Louis (2000-14)St. Louis is the all-time franchise leader in points and the only Lightning player to make the Hall of Fame aft...
Published: 07/13/18
Lightning names AHL’s Derek Lalonde as new assistant

Lightning names AHL’s Derek Lalonde as new assistant

The Lightning has completed Jon Cooper's coaching staff for the upcoming season, announcing on Thursday the hiring of Derek Lalonde, who spent the last two seasons as head coach of the American Hockey League's Iowa Wild.Lalonde, 45, has steadily work...
Published: 07/12/18
Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

Lightning re-signs left wing Adam Erne to one-year contract

A busy few weeks of re-signing players continued Wednesday, as the Lightning brought back the last of their restricted free agents, signing left wing Adam Erne to a one-year, $800,000 contract for 2018-19.Erne, 23, was a second-round pick in 2013 and...
Published: 07/11/18
Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

Lightning locks up Nikita Kucherov with 8-year, $76 million extension

CLEARWATER — Nikita Kucherov could have waited a year, allowing the demand for a top young NHL scorer to escalate as he hit restricted free agency next summer.But when the Lightning made him an offer to become the highest-paid player in the tea...
Published: 07/10/18
Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

Lightning signs Nikita Kucherov to richest contract in team history

The Lightning took another step toward securing its future Tuesday by announcing that right wing Nikita Kucherov will sign the richest contract in franchise history.Kucherov's eight-year contract extension will pay him an average of $9.5 million star...
Published: 07/10/18
Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

Kucherov signing helps Lightning finish what it started

TAMPA — The Erik Karlsson sweepstakes hasn't ended for the Lightning.But the Nikita Kucherov sweepstakes is over before it began.The Lightning has locked up its star right winger. An eight-year extension that begins in the 2019-20 season will p...
Published: 07/10/18
Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

Meet the girl behind the Marty St. Louis sign

ST. PETERSBURG — When the call from the Hall came, there she was again.The girl with the "I (heart) U Marty" sign, in the newspaper again, this time on the cover of the June 27 Tampa Bay Times sports section. She was frozen in time, doing what ...
Published: 07/07/18
What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

What might Lightning give up to get Erik Karlsson?

TAMPA — Shortly after the excitement of the real possibility Thursday night that the Lightning could be trading for defenseman Erik Karlsson, fans quickly came to an uneasy place: What exactly would Tampa Bay give up to get the two-time Norris ...
Published: 07/06/18
The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

The Lightning advantage in Erik Karlsson trade talks

He wants to be here.This is the place.In case you'd missed it amid the gloom and doom of a Lightning season that came up short again, there are still people who want to play in Tampa Bay.One of them is Erik Sven Gunnar Karlsson of Landsbro, Sweden. T...
Published: 07/06/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Will the Lightning trade for Erik Karlsson?

Rick Stroud returns from vacation to discuss reports that the Lightning will acquire star defenseman Erik Karlsson from the Ottawa Senators.He also talks about reaction to Jameis Winston's three-game suspension, the Rays' crazy home stand and which p...
Published: 07/06/18