The Steven Stamkos silly season continues.
With Stamkos, 25, the Lightning superstar captain, still not signed to a contract extension, and due for unrestricted free agency in July, everyone is trying to read the Maple Leaf tea leaves, while searching for truth in Twitter feeds.
Stamkos, a Markham, Ontario, native whose Twitter handle is @RealStamkos91, found himself trending worldwide on the social media service Wednesday afternoon when he hit "like" on a tweet about a video from TSN, Canada's Toronto-based version of ESPN, asking if the Maple Leafs should make a run at the All-Star center in free agency. Soon thereafter, Stamkos unliked the tweet.
Stamkos indicated he didn't realize he hit the "like" button.
"It was accidental," Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times.
It's the third time in the past two years he has inadvertently "liked" a tweet on the subject of him returning to Toronto. Maybe he's pranking Twitter?
Believe him or not, with one flick of his finger, Stamkos had the hockey world — especially his home country — buzzing. TSN led its national 6 p.m. SportsCentre show and website with the Stamkos' "like," planning to have a camera at today's morning skate ahead of the Lightning-Senators game at Amalie Arena.
With Stamkos' agents at Newport Sports and GM Steve Yzerman declining to discuss the negotiations publicly, everyone is grasping for straws on what might be going on in Stamkos' head.
This isn't a first "TweetGate" for Stamkos. In the summer of 2014, he favorited a tweet of a story from the Hockey News that pondered if a young NHL star would follow LeBron James' lead and go back to his hometown team, like James did with the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers. He also favorited a tweet asking him to team with Islanders star and fellow Toronto native John Tavares in joining the Leafs. Stamkos also said then it was an accident.
"You talk about having a pocket dial, that was a pocket favorite of a tweet," Stamkos said in September 2014. "You press the favorite button by accident and an hour later Twitter blew up. But you live and learn, and I'll be more careful on the favorite button the next time around."
Oh, the power of a pocket tweet.
It should certainly bring added juice to the Lightning's trip to Toronto on Tuesday. As if it needed more.