Saturday, May 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning's Cooper 'fired up' about Stamkos' progress

CALGARY — When it comes to the fast-track recovery Lightning star Steven Stamkos seems to be making from a broken right leg, coach Jon Cooper said it is difficult to control his enthusiasm.

"It makes you fired up," he said of Stamkos on Thursday skating in full gear for the first time since the Nov. 11 injury. "It's more a validation that he's hopefully going to be ready in the time frame we're hoping for."

Cooper said he has a date in mind that would allow Stamkos to play for Tampa Bay and then Canada at the Olympic tournament Feb. 12-23 in Sochi, Russia. Key will be Stamkos' scheduled X-ray next week after the team gets back from Canada.

"That will give us a little bit better of an indication where he's at in the healing stage," Cooper said Friday. "So, I would temper everybody's enthusiasm because the kid is a go-getter. He's going to go out there, whether it's on crutches, you would see him put the equipment on."

As for Stamkos, he called Thursday — when he skated easily, took some lazy slap shots and worked with captain Marty St. Louis on a tip drill — "baby steps" in his rehabilitation.

"Getting the lungs back a little bit," Stamkos said. "The laps seem a lot easier when you're in shape. It's about not having a setback right now. I'm definitely pleased with where I'm at."

Where he is at is seven-plus weeks since the injury. "I was kind of told 10 to 12 weeks before this thing is fully, fully healed, so it's getting there. You'd like to think you're on the shorter end of the recovery," Stamkos said.

A 12-week recovery would give Stamkos at least a couple of games with the Lightning before the Olympics, the team for which will be announced Tuesday. "I'd like nothing more than for him to play in the Olympics," Cooper said. "He deserves a chance to represent his country."

If he does, it means he already will have played for Tampa Bay.

MORE MEDICAL MATTERS: D Sami Salo (upper body) sat out a fourth straight game Friday against the Flames. Cooper indicated he should be ready for Sunday at Edmonton.

HOT SHOTS: After being near the bottom of the league in average shots on goal, the Lightning entered Friday with at least 30 shots in eight of its previous 11 games — including games of 50, 42 and 40 — and was tied for 17th with an average 29.6. "It's taken us three or four months to pound into the guys what we want done and what's been successful and what hasn't," Cooper said. "The message is, when you read the box score, nobody says how it went in. It just went in. We've taken more of a workmanlike approach."

HONORED: GM Steve Yzerman will be one of six inductees into the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame in May. Yzerman, who played 23 seasons with the Red Wings, won Olympic gold with Canada as a player (2002) and as team executive director (2010). He also is executive director of the 2014 team.

ODDS AND ENDS: Entering his 41st game Friday, C Valtteri Filppula had 15 goals, 32 points. He had nine goals, 17 points in 41 games last season for the Red Wings. … The Lightning played with 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Flames. … Forwards B.J. Crombeen and Tom Pyatt were scratched.

Comments
Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

Steve Yzermanís summer plans: Make the Lightning better

TAMPA — Captain Steven Stamkos said the Lightning's window for contending for a Stanley Cup championship is not closing."I think it's wide open," he said Thursday, one day after the Lightning lost Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final to the C...
Updated: 8 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechki...
Published: 05/24/18
Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and donít panic

Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and donít panic

TAMPA — Don't change a thing.Don't blow it up. Don't fire anyone. Don't overreact.Thursday was not an easy day in Lightning Land. It was the day after the end of a season that ended much too soon. It was a day when bags were packed, questions w...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

TAMPA — Not surprisingly, several Lightning players went through the playoffs with what general manager Steve Yzerman called "significant injuries."He would not elaborate Thursday on who they were, though he said that information will be made p...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning fans leaving Game 7 early: Understandable or bad form?

Lightning fans leaving Game 7 early: Understandable or bad form?

TAMPA — Lightning fans were heading for the exits with three minutes remaining in Tampa Bay's 4-0 loss to Washington Wednesday in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. Understandable given the disappointment of not reaching the Stanley C...
Published: 05/24/18
The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isnít headed to the Stanley Cup final

The single biggest reason Tampa Bay isnít headed to the Stanley Cup final

TAMPA — Washington is on to Vegas. The Lightning is not. So we asked the Times' Lightning coverage team for the single biggest reason Tampa Bay isn't headed to the Stanley Cup final. Here's their answers:Roger Mooney, staff writer: Th...
Published: 05/24/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Scoring drought brings Lightning season to a close

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Scoring drought brings Lightning season to a close

The Lightning will miss out on the Stanley Cup final after being shut out by the Capitals in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final. The Bolts were the highest-scoring team during the regular season but failed to score in almost all of the final eigh...
Published: 05/24/18
Postgame reactions from Lightningís Game 7 loss to the Capitals

Postgame reactions from Lightningís Game 7 loss to the Capitals

The Lightning was shut out once in the first 97 games of the season, the playoffs included. Then it was shut out during the last two games of the Eastern Conference final, including 4-0 on Wednesday to the Capitals in Game 7.Here are some postgame re...
Published: 05/24/18
Lightning journal: A rare fight to this finish

Lightning journal: A rare fight to this finish

TAMPA — After Alex Ovechkin's goal 62 seconds into Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Wednesday, the next highlight was an extended fight between Lightning D Braydon Coburn and Capitals RW Tom Wilson, with a two-minute break for them to spe...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Lightningís season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

Lightningís season ends one win short of Stanley Cup final with 4-0 loss to Capitals

TAMPA — The Lightning's dream season ended late Wednesday with the final horn, or, if you prefer, early in the second period of Game 5, when it scored its last goal of the Eastern Conference final.How about that? The team with the most regular-...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18