Friday, February 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos' return could come in Olympics

TORONTO — Steven Stamkos would prefer to play in a game or two for the Lightning before playing for Canada at next month's Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

But the Lightning star, out since Nov. 11 with a broken right tibia, said for the first time it is not a prerequisite for his participation, though an "honest" discussion with Lightning and Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman would be needed.

"At the end of the day it's going to go on how my body feels and if I can play to that level," Stamkos said Tuesday. "Whether it's two games, one game, if I don't play a game and feel great heading into the tournament, that's a discussion that we're going to have with, first, our medical staff here in Tampa and then, obviously, with Steve Yzerman."

"If he gets a chance to play in a game next week, if he's cleared to play, great," Yzerman said. "If not, then depending on what the doctor says and how he feels, is he good to go for the first game of the tournament? He's the only one who really knows that."

Stamkos took another step at Tuesday's morning skate, participating for the first time with a regular jersey rather than a red no-contact or yellow caution jersey. Stamkos looked quick and confident, and the concern over soreness and a skipped Monday practice seemed forgotten.

It has been speculated that Stamkos would like to be in the lineup Feb. 6 at home against Toronto. That would give him two games, including Feb. 8 against Detroit, before Canada's Olympic opener Feb. 13 against Norway.

That timetable cannot happen, or be accelerated to include the game Feb. 4 at Minnesota, until Stamkos is cleared for full contact and, as he said, gets in "a couple good, hard practices with some hard contact."

"And we're not there yet," he added. "There's not a lot of time. If that's going to happen, it has to happen in the next week or so."

If Stamkos does not play for the Lightning before the Olympic break, he and Yzerman must put their heads together.

"We can be honest with each other," Stamkos said. "If I say I'm at the level I need to be to compete in the Olympics, I think he's going to have the trust in me that I can go over there and play at that level. But I have to be honest with him. If I say I'm not ready then, obviously, I'm not going to go."

"This is all up to Steven," coach Jon Cooper said. "This is his livelihood. This is who he is. So I know whatever happens it's going to be for the right reasons and not push things to jeopardize his future."

Hair today: D Mark Barberio, who will cut his hair to commemorate his first NHL goal, scored Jan. 19 at Carolina, said he likely won't do it until next month so it can be part of the Cut For a Cure fundraiser for pediatric cancer research.

Odds and ends: After getting zero goals in his first 31 games, Barberio has four in four. … RW Marty St. Louis' 10-game points streak ended. … RW J.T. Brown said his jaw was tight after a high hit from James van Riemsdyk. … ECHL Florida released D Brian Rafalski, who had not played since Jan. 18 because of a sore back. … F Tom Pyatt and D Jean-Philippe Cote were scratched.

Comments
NHL trade deadline: Action picks up with three-team deal

NHL trade deadline: Action picks up with three-team deal

RALEIGH, N.C. — The  Penguins acquired center Derick Brassard from the Senators on Friday night in a three-team deal that sent defenseman Ian Cole to Ottawa and forward Ryan Reaves to the Golden Knights.The Penguins announced the deal...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

Can the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?

When it comes to the Tampa Bay Lightning these days, there's only one question that really matters:Will the Lightning win the Stanley Cup?That's it. That's the big question. That's the only thing on everyone's mind.Will it or won't it?Does this ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk wonít die down until deadline is over

Erik Karlsson-to-Lightning talk wonít die down until deadline is over

MONTREAL — Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson sure seemed chatty with his Lightning friends as he left the Canadian Tire Center on Thursday night.Karlsson, 27, took his time talking up several members of Tampa Bay's staff in the hallway out...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

Lightning not planning to trade from current roster

You can bet that many Lightning fans hoped Senators superstar defenseman Erik Karlsson jumped on Tampa Bay's bus after Thursday night's 4-3 Lightning win.Karlsson, 27, a two-time Norris Trophy winner, is the biggest prize leading up to Monday's trade...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

Lightning escapes for 4-3 win in Ottawa

OTTAWA – The Lightning was encouraged it escaped Ottawa with a 4-3 win over the Senators on Thursday night.But it was really disappointed about how it had to "hold on to dear life," as defenseman Victor Hedman put it, after taking a three-goal ...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

U-S-A! U-S-A! Womenís hockey beats Canada for Olympic gold

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The Americans' gold medal drought in women's hockey is finally over. They needed the first shootout in an Olympic women's final to do it, too.Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored a dazzling, triple-deke goal in the sixth ...
Published: 02/22/18
Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

Ryan Callahan regaining his confidence for Lightning

When the Lightning put wing Ryan Callahan back on the power play a month ago, there were many reasons for the move.With Ondrej Palat suffering a lower-body injury Jan. 20, Tampa Bay needed a replacement who was fearless in front of the net and a rele...
Published: 02/21/18
The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

The entire Lightning team was sent to Syracuse late Tuesday. Really

On Tuesday night, the entire Lightning team was reassigned to Syracuse.Well, more like re-directed.The team's charter flight from Washington D.C. was diverted around midnight Tuesday night due to fog in Ottawa, where the Lightning was headed for a Th...
Published: 02/21/18
Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

Lightning claims Gabriel Dumont off waivers

The Lightning got F Gabriel Dumont back, claiming him off waivers Wednesday from Ottawa.Dumont, 27, was reassigned to AHL Syracuse, where he will provide a veteran presence. He's a potential callup option down the stretch for a bottom six role and fa...
Published: 02/21/18
Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

Nikita Kucherovís trick shot sends Lightning past Capitals

WASHINGTON — There was some lighthearted debate in the Lightning dressing room Tuesday night about whether the latest dazzling breakaway move by Nikita Kucherov was a deliberate fake or a slip off the stick.Some teammates playfully gave the All...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/21/18