1. Lightning

Stamkos declines to comment on reported offer, wants to stay

Published Jan. 24, 2016

Captain Steven Stamkos would neither confirm nor deny a Saturday report by Canada's Sportsnet that the Lightning has offered an eight-year, $68 million contract extension in recent weeks.

"I'm not going to comment on that," Stamkos told the Times Sunday at the Lightning's family carnival at Amalie Arena. "We haven't talked about that stuff in the media all season long and I don't know how they get a hold of stuff like that. All the things that we've talked about, it's staying internally and it'll continue to be that way."

But Stamkos, in the final year of his current deal, reiterated he hopes to stay with Tampa Bay for a long time. He has maintained that communication between his agents at Newport Sports and the Lightning have remained open, and that negotiations are not at a stalemate. The $8.5 million annual average of the reported offer, which is believed to be an initial one, would be a million more than what he's making this season. Neither GM Steve Yzerman nor agents at Newport Sports have commented on the report.

Stamkos spent Sunday playing bubble hockey and Ping-Pong with Lightning fans, many of whom wearing his No. 91 jersey. There were around 3,000 fans at the second annual carnival, which had 40 interactive games and activities.

"I've been in a few organizations, and I've never had anything like this," D Anton Stralman said.

Said Stamkos: "Last year went well, this year is even bigger and better."

That culture, on and off the ice, created by owner Jeff Vinik is one reason Stamkos loves playing here.

"It's fantastic," Stamkos said. "When Mr. Vinik bought the team, this was the vision that he had, to have this support of the community and fans like we do."


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