Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos had a "clean" MRI on his injured left shoulder, the team said, but still will skip this year's world championships.
Stamkos on Monday acknowledged what had been suspected: that he had been dealing with some sort of injury. He even said the shoulder "bugged" him enough that he almost missed the March 10 game with the Hurricanes. Stamkos, 22 has not missed an NHL game because of injury in his four-year NHL career.
Despite the injury with which Stamkos played for almost a month, he became part of NHL history when he became just the 20th player to reach 60 goals in a season and only the second to do it in the past 15 seasons. His 97 points also are a career high.
Stamkos said he takes "a lot of pride" in the fact he has not missed a game due to injury.
"That's why you work hard in the summer and take care of your body the best you can during the season," he said. "It's playing through stuff, sometimes, as well."
This will be Stamkos' first long summer in a while. He played for Canada in the world championship in 2009 and 2010, and last season the Lightning's long playoff run went until late May.
"You get kind of behind working out a little bit," he said. "Sometimes you need a rest."