TAMPA — Steven Stamkos is back on the ice. Three weeks ago, the Lightning captain reached the skating portion of working his way back from the core muscle surgery he had March 2.
The Lightning sneaked in an announcement of sorts Thursday with a video of Stamkos on the ice to finish their “receive a pass, send a pass” video, following up with a Twitter post that said, “So you guys like the ending, huh?”
Don’t worry, Stamkos is allowed to be on the ice. This isn’t going to spark the league to look into violations, like Tom Brady stumbling into a stranger’s house looking for his new offensive coordinator.
When the NHL paused its season March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic and told players to stay away from arenas, the league made an exception for injured players to work with athletic trainers.
Stamkos isn’t the only Lightning player on the ice. Defenseman Jan Rutta, who missed 17 games before the season was halted after injuring a leg sliding into the boards Feb. 4, is also working out at Amalie Arena.
Once the Lightning realized the season would be on hold for more than a couple of weeks at a minimum, the training staff switched them to a longer-term recovery process. If they have the time available, why not use it?
The process can be accelerated as needed if this season does resume.
In a video the Lightning released Friday, Stamkos wouldn’t go as far as to call it lucky having to have the surgery but timing has worked to his advantage.
“It was devastating at the beginning because I thought I would possibly be missing some playoff games,” he said. “So kind of the silver lining in that was I’ll be ready when we resume.”
Stamkos has no restrictions on what he can do on the ice except that his workouts can’t include other players. At this point there aren’t areas of concern to avoid re-injury. He is strengthening the groin to protect the area.
Beyond skating, Stamkos said on the video he is enjoying spending time with his 8-month-old son, Carter, something he said during the season was a commodity. Being a swim teacher to an infant in the backyard has been “really fun,” he said.
Contact Diana C. Nearhos at email@example.com. Follow @dianacnearhos.