Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning's Stamkos takes next step in rehab

TAMPA — Lightning C Steven Stamkos jokingly called the yellow practice jersey "caution," like the traffic light.

But Stamkos was happy to move from the red (no-contact) jersey to the yellow (light contact) during Saturday's morning skate as it's another step in his recovery from a broken right tibia. He did some pushing along the boards with RW Marty St. Louis, playfully knocking the captain to the ice.

While the color change put Stamkos closer to his goal of returning for one of the home games (Feb. 6 or Feb. 8) before the Olympic break, coach Jon Cooper urged caution.

"There's still lots of things that have to go on," Cooper said. "He is still a ways away from being cleared (for full contact). It's just the process that is slowly going on here. But in saying that, I think when you take the minimum/maximum of what the injury was, he's closer to coming in at the minimum time frame than the maximum time frame."

Stamkos, who was unavailable for comment, sustained the injury Nov. 11 against the Bruins. At the time, he was expected to miss three to six months.

He had practiced in the red jersey since Jan. 2 but got the go-ahead to switch after an encouraging X-ray Thursday. GM Steve Yzerman said team medical director Ira Guttentag instructed Stamkos "to pick up the workload a little bit and see how it responds."

Cooper pointed out that Stamkos has yet to engage in battles in the corner, though that could start in a more "energized" Monday practice.

"Then there's always the mental part of it because you can't go into a corner being afraid to get hurt or hit or anything like that," Cooper said. "So those are other hurdles that he will have to overcome here soon."

HEDMAN SNUBBED: It was surprising to many analysts that Lightning D Victor Hedman was left off Sweden's Olympic team, especially considering he's having the best season of his career. Then Sweden announced he wasn't even on the reserve list. "It's almost so ridiculous," NHL Network analyst Craig Button said. "It's funny. It's like they've secured documentation that he's really not Swedish."

NO PANIK: Cooper said rookie RW Richard Panik's demotion to AHL Syracuse on Friday was "by no means a permanent thing." But with the Lightning closer to full strength, his playing time has dwindled (a healthy scratch for the past two games and five of the past seven). And it wants him to get more action before the Olympics. "Instead of sitting in the stands here for the next week," Cooper said, "why not go play the power play, play penalty kill, five-on-five and get your mojo back?"

Miscellany: With an assist Saturday, RW Marty St. Louis extended his points streak to 10 games, the league's longest active one. … G Ben Bishop made 25 saves for his 26th win. … D Victor Hedman racked up three assists, tying a career high, and has six over his past two games. … The Lightning remained tied for first with the Bruins in the Atlantic Division. … D Jean-Philippe Cote and C Tom Pyatt were scratched.

Lightning's Stamkos takes next step in rehab 01/25/14 [Last modified: Saturday, January 25, 2014 11:58pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. FSU-Tulane coming to Amalie Arena in December

    Blogs

    Florida State basketball is coming to Tampa.

  2. Is Mikhail Sergachev, who debuts with Lightning at Wednesday camp, ready for the NHL?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken ninth overall by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL draft, a horde of Montreal media surrounded him for his first news conference.

    Mikhail Sergachev takes a shot during warmups prior to a game between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes in October in Montreal. [Getty Images]
  3. Top pick Brendan McKay signing with Rays for $7M bonus

    Blogs

    The Rays are set to sign top pick 1B/LHP Brendan McKay for a bonus just over $7-million, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

    The deal is expected to be finalized …

    Brendan McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.
  4. Vince Young takes shot at Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick

    Blogs

    Former NFL quarterback Vince Young, out of the league since 2011 and complaining about not getting more opportunities to prolong his career, took a shot at new Bucs backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in a story posted at …

    Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with the Bucs to be Jameis Winston's backup this fall, has played for six other NFL teams in his 12 seasons in the league.