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‘I didn’t think I’d be walking': Stamkos meets media without crutches, boot

Nov 25, 2013, 11:06 AM EDT

On Monday, Steve Stamkos met with media for the first time since breaking his tibia on Nov. 11 and did it in style, walking to the podium without the use of crutches or a walking boot.

“I didn’t think I’d be walking,” Stamkos said, as per Lightning beat reporter Missy Zielinski. Stamkos also noted he’s been walking on the leg for the last two days without any support.

The 23-year-old sniper is just 13 days removed from having a metal rod inserted in his leg the length of his tibia, which will be a “permanent part of his body,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

But based on what he told the media Monday, Stamkos won’t let the injury derail his hopes of getting back into action in time to represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

When the injury first occurred, estimates for a timetable for return were at three months — which would nudge right up against the NHL break for Olympic participation.

According to Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock, Stamkos will remain on the team’s roster right up until the start of the tournament, at which time Babcock and GM Steve Yzerman will decide whether to include Stamkos in Russia, or call up an emergency replacement.

This is sort of like what Canada did in 2010 with Ryan Getzlaf and Jeff Carter. Getzlaf suffered an ankle injury just prior to the games; Carter, tabbed as Getzlaf’s fill-in, was so close to becoming a replacement player he was actually flown to Vancouver on GM Steve Yzerman’s orders.

Stamkos has represented Canada internationally at the junior and World Championship level, but never at the Olympics. He was named to Canada’s “stand-by” list for the ’10 games.

UPDATE: Stamkos was injured in Boston, and the Bruins have gone above and beyond in reaching out to him. B’s captain Zdeno Chara reached out to Stamkos via text and head coach Claude Julien paid a visit in hospital.

(Image courtesy Erik Erlendsson, Tampa Bay Tribune.)

  1. nhstateline - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:11 AM

    excellent!! can’t wait until he’s back in games with the Bolts!!!

  2. steelers88 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    He is one tough S.O.B.

    • c9castine - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

      Sorry I accidentally hit thumbs down so discount one of those! Obviously he’s a tough dude but how bout some credit for the medical team? What’s it been like2-3 weeks and he’s strolling around on it? Must have done a bang up job putting that thing back together

      • ibieiniid - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        I’m sayin, man. he hasn’t even barely started rehabbing yet, if at all. at this point, I give more credit to the doctors than the patient, but just having to go thru that and handling what Stamkos has shouldn’t be sneezed at either.

      • peterjohnjoseph - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:30 PM

        Like I’ve said a few times before, if fate says you’re going to break your leg, Boston is the place you want it to happen. The doctors and hospitals available are top notch, with master surgeons being pushed by younger, smarter surgeons on the rise for their jobs straight out of the 3 or 4 best medical schools in the Country.

        Don’t take anything away from Stamkos here. There still has to be a will to get up everyday and believe every little step he takes in rehab will push him ahead. A lot of athletes can’t take that pressure, and the mental aspect alone ruins them.

        Look no further than Derek Rose, who after a long, drawn out recovery, was so fearful that he ended up favoring his other leg within a month of returning. Doctors said he had a 33% chance of doing just that because of the mental side of it.

      • falstaffsmind - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        He is tough. He took a puck to the face against those same Bruins in the playoffs and was back on the ice the next period with his nose looking like ground chuck.

  3. withseidelinn - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    The media literally made it seem like it was a near death experience and blew it out of proportion so badly. I broke the same bone in my leg last April and it took me 7 weeks to be able to walk. These guys have some of the best rehab available and heal a lot faster than most, so I never thought it would be an issue for him to play in the Olympics. It’s very surprising he’s walking already, but definitely promising for TB fans as it means it wasn’t a bad break. Good for him and I think everyone knows he has an incredible amount of determination to get back ASAP.

  4. ibieiniid - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Warrior. although I had to have some plates put in my wrist when I broke it quite bad and was also surprised at how quickly I could use it with relatively no pain. surgeons these days….

  5. curioustraveler13 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Wow!! This is really good news. I hope he comes back and wins the Rocket Richard trophy. Really classy of Claude Julien to visit him in the hospital.

  6. lightning69 - Nov 25, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Just…Wow!!! Hockey players are the toughest athletes in the world, fact! But this is still impressive and hope that his long term health is not effected.

    As much as Tampa fans loathe the Boston Bruins, a sincere and heartfelt thanks to the surgical team and staff at Boston Mass. Kudos to Julian for showing up in person.

    Hope this news gives a kick in the butt to the squad to improve their play in these important home games.

    Go Stammer and go Bolts!!

    • joey4id - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      Nice gesture by Julien. Would have been nice if Hamilton, who knocked him down just before the net, would have visited him as well? He probably feels too guilty for that I suppose.

    • Moop - Nov 25, 2013 at 10:53 PM

      Do Lightning fans hate the Bruins?

      I’m a Bruins fan and I’m just curious. I never really considered there to be a rivalry between the two teams. I love watching St. Louis and Stamkos play though.

      • ctcork - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:14 AM

        We don’t hate you but you’re not exactly our favorite team. We’re still a little bitter about the 2011 Conference Finals. Might become more of a rivalry in the next couple of years.

      • nhstateline - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:33 AM

        why are you bitter about that ? Especially the last game, it was wonderful. Both teams played really, really well. Somebody had to win, somebody had to lose. Just part of the deal. Plus, game 7 won Stamkos a whole bunch of fans up here. People really respected what he did coming back after his nose got destroyed. I mean I don’t hate the Blackhawks, quite the opposite after seeing them play the B’s for the Cup last year. Not happy the Bruins lost that series but the other team was really really deserving and someone has to lose ………..

  7. dearyxd - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    When Coach Julien visited him in the hospital He talked english first then french?

  8. skr213 - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    If anyone out there had doubts about the benefits of Gary Roberts’ off season training, this should erase them. I’m just surprised GMs don’t insist that more players take their off season training as seriously as Stamkos does. Every athlete knows that your condition before an injury plays a huge role in recovery time.

  9. muttbolts91 - Nov 29, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    We are bitter cause Nathan Horton , the only goal scorer in gm 7 should have been suspended that game. He sprayed a fan in tampa with a water bottle after gm 6. That’s a automatic one game suspension. See torts vs Washington. Even nhls website shows a video of a player spraying a fan as a definition to the player fan interaction rule.

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