Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos not giving up on return during playoffs

Stamkos gets, gives well wishes

With the playoffs set to begin tonight, the Lightning will be missing captain and leading scorer Steven Stamkos.

But Stamkos, 26, who had vascular surgery last week to fix a blood clot, apparently hasn't given up hope on playing again this season.

Several teammates visited Stamkos in the hospital Monday afternoon in Tampa, saying the All-Star is in good spirits, but had a message.

"You can tell he wants to be there (on the ice)," wing Alex Killorn said. "In the case he could come back, he really wants to make sure we go back to the final to give him a chance to play again this season. That was kind of his message, 'Just go to the finals and maybe I'll see you guys.' "

Stamkos is expected to be out 1-3 months after his April 4 surgery. Stamkos' family is in town, visiting him in the hospital, and he's expected to go home soon, Killorn said.

"He's our captain, he's our leader," Killorn said. "He's huge for this team, not only on the ice but off it. He'll be missed for sure. We've just got to keep it going."

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

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