Putting torque on leg still tough for Stamkos

Steven Stamkos said he’s still aiming for a return to the Lightning from a broken leg before the Olympic break.
Steven Stamkos said he’s still aiming for a return to the Lightning from a broken leg before the Olympic break.
Published Jan. 14, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Skating straight ahead, Steven Stamkos is all good. Doing plyometrics in the gym and taking force on his right leg as it hits the ground? Not a problem.

It is when the Lightning's star center tries crossover skating or accelerating from a stop that he feels the most discomfort in the leg broken Nov. 11 at Boston.

"It's the torquing, when all the weight is on that leg and you're turning, that's the stuff that bothers me most," Stamkos said Monday after joining teammates on the ice at the end of the morning skate. "It's anytime there's a pass that's a little bit in front and you have to make that sudden movement. I'm not at a point where I'm 100 percent comfortable with that right now."

Even so, he said, "Each time I've been on the ice, for the most part, I've felt better each time."

Each time Stamkos skates, he tries to take at least a small step forward. Monday, when he wasn't participating in a shooting drill or faceoff practice, he focused on crossover skating.

Stamkos' goal is to be ready to play for Canada at next month's Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The prerequisite is he play at least two games for the Lightning. If he does that, his first might be Feb. 6 at home against Toronto.

"When I'm on the ice, yeah, I try to do certain movements that bug me. I try to keep doing them," Stamkos said. "There is still discomfort. Even when I'm back playing there might still be a little discomfort. It's just a matter of having to deal with it."

Bishop up: G Ben Bishop, out three games with a sprained right wrist, backed up Anders Lindback on Monday at Columbus and is expected to play tonight at the Rangers.

"I'm excited," said Bishop said, who entered Monday with a league-best .935 save percentage and tied for second with a 1.86 goals-against average. "I probably could have played (Monday). I'm ready to go."

More medical matters: D Sami Salo, who took a shot off his left ankle Saturday at Philadelphia, is day to day after tests showed a bruise, GM Steve Yzerman said. … D Keith Aulie (hand), out since Dec. 5, shed his red jersey at Monday's skate. "He's becoming day to day as opposed to week to week," coach Jon Cooper said.

Scott free: Flyers LW Scott Hartnell received no supplementary discipline and did not even have a hearing before NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for his head shot on Lightning D Victor Hedman. Hartnell got two minutes for a check to the head. Hedman was not injured.

"Fortunately, Heddy is okay," Cooper said, and added with sarcasm. "I supposed there's no harm, no foul."

Ceddy's pads: With Bishop back, G Cedrick Desjardins was reassigned to AHL Syracuse. But at least he finally had his pads.

The pads landed in Winnipeg Wednesday, two days after Desjardins was called up and one day after Tampa Bay left the city after a 4-2 loss to the Jets. The pads stayed there until Saturday, when the visiting Blue Jackets brought them to Columbus.

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In the interim, Desjardins wore the skates of goaltenders coach Frantz Jean, gear borrowed from the Jets and then some equipment he left in Tampa last season after he was acquired from the Canadiens.

"At least I got all my stuff," Desjardins said. "It'll be a good story to tell."

Odds and ends: Matt Carle has nine assists in a seven-game points streak that is the league's longest current. He also tied Dan Boyle for the longest in franchise history by a defenseman. … The Lightning is 17-2-0 when leading after two periods. … Forwards Richard Panik and Tom Pyatt were scratched. … Syracuse G Kristers Gudlevskis — 2-0-1 with 0.65 goals-against average, .973 save percentage and two shutouts — was the AHL's player of the week for the week ending Sunday. … It was fitting Columbus' Nathan Horton scored his 200th career goal against Tampa Bay. He has 27 goals, 47 points in 47 games against the Lightning.