TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is recovering from a procedure to repair a core muscle injury. He had the surgery on Monday morning in St. Louis and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
His teammate Pat Maroon said the team is going to feel the impact of that loss. Stamkos has the second-most goals and the second-most points on the team. If he can recover quickly from the surgery, he may be able to return to the ice around the second full week of April. The Lightning would likely be in the midst of the first round of the playoffs.
“I think losing him is big especially at the most important time of the year,” said Maroon. “We are going to miss his leadership and, obviously, what he brings on the ice. He is the guy that drives the bus for our team, on the ice, off the ice, in the locker room. When we heard the news, it is a blow to our team.”
“It is a tough loss for us but I think it is going to take the whole group to step up and try to fill in for a guy like that,” said Barclay Goodrow, who joined the team one week ago.
“We are going to miss him,” said Maroon, “but we are praying for a speedy recovery making sure he is healthy and, when he gets back, it is a bonus for us but, right now, we have to find ways to play without him. I know it is hard but it is kind of the next man up mentality. Obviously, when you lose a player like that at his caliber you have to find ways to just manage it and find ways to just still play the same way.”
“Stammer has a certain skill set,” said the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jon Cooper, “that is much better than a lot of other guys especially in the shooting department so we are not going to be able to replace that type of player but some minutes are going to have to be distributed a little bit to other guys. As a team, like, if one guy comes out, it should not affect the way we play. It should not affect our mindset. It should not affect the amount of penalties we take. It should not affect the turnovers. We got to keep playing the same way and I think that that is the sign of a good team that can just continue on when you hit adversity like this and so that is what we are looking for is for us not to change our mindset in how we have to play and how we have to win.”
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