Looks like there may be some hope for Team Canada after all, as Steven Stamkos is seen walking around without crutches only two weeks after breaking his leg. Stamkos walking into a press conference without even as much as a brace on his leg, Erik Karlsson tweeted a picture of the occurrence and this has shot a dose of optimism into Canadians heading into the 2014 Olympic games. Stamkos had broken his leg on November 11th and had a rod placed in his leg on Novemeber 12th, and it was only November 25th when he was seen walking upright under his own power.
The Olympic games start on February 6th which would give Stammer 10 weeks of rehabilitation. That short length of time didn’t seem to be enough at first, but because it was a clean break and has healed quickly so far, there’s definitely reason to be optimistic about Stamkos’ return. It would be really unfortunate to see him get robbed of a second straight Olympics.
Here’s the part you need to keep in mind though. The General Manager for Team Canada this year is Steve Yzerman, who is also the General Manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning which Steven Stamkos plays for. So I do not foresee him putting the career of his franchise player in jeopardy just to rush him back into a short Olympic tournament. If Stamkos is not completely medically cleared, I don’t expect to return at 80 or 90 percent.
Another thing to remember is that Stamkos is a work horse; he pushes his body to and beyond its limits while he’s training during the off season. That being said this is his first major injury during his NHL career, and he is going to have to suck up his pride for a while and let his leg rest, even though he’s going to wish he was working out and training with his team. He needs to make sure that leg is fully recovered before he starts taking any chances with it. It would be unfortunate to see one of the purest goal scorers this league has seen since Mike Bossy or Pavel Bure, be hampered and not as productive due to a reoccurring leg injury. Stamkos is one of the fastest players in the game and it would be nice to see him stay that way.
However if a series of events were to take place where Stammer’s leg had not recovered in time for Sochi and a spot opened up for another forward, expect these players to get a good look. Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars has been tearing it up this year with new line mate Tyler Seguin, and even had a six point game only two weeks ago. Another player that will definitely get a glance is Matt Duchene who would do a decent job at replacing the speed and skill set that Stamkos would’ve brought to the table, he as well has ridiculously fast hands and knows how to use them at high speeds. My last pick for possible replacements would be Patrick Sharp, and I probably would’ve said Claude Giroux, but for the fact that Giroux has tremendously underperformed this season so far, and Sharp as usual has excelled by putting pucks in the net, and also doing all the things that help teams win hockey games, even if it’s not the things that end up on the score sheet. Sharp would definitely help Team Canada grind out wins due to pure heart and determination.
It is unclear how close Stamkos really is to recovering as he is a tough son-of-a-B, and may have just been sucking up the pain when he was walking around freely. Canada is sure getting their hopes up as of this news, and so they should. Stamkos is one of the best hockey players on the planet, and if not for his injury would be neck and neck with Crosby for the point leader position still. Everyone in Canada is sending you their get well wishes Stammer, hope to see you at the Olympics games!
By Brandon Webb