One of the lasting images Tampa Bay fans have from last season is a nightmare-inducing moment when superstar Steven Stamkos laid on the ice at Boston’s TD Garden, clutching his broken right leg. Fortunately, Stamkos appears to have put their fears to rest concerning his ability to start the new season at 100%.
As I have previously covered for the Hockey Writers, Stamkos has spent the summer focusing on strengthening and conditioning his right leg, as it did not feel right when he returned to game action on March 6. Two events in the summer in particular – a charity street hockey game and the 2014 Athlete Event held by Bauer Hockey – showed Stamkos looking very comfortable moving around, on the ice and off.
That trend continued this past week, when many Lightning players partook in an informal skate prior to the start of training camp, among them team captain Stamkos.
— Michelle Gingras (@michellegingras) September 9, 2014
Whether it was intentional in the picture or not, seeing Stamkos skating with all of his weight on his right leg is an encouraging sight for fans. In addition, the following video from Lightnings’ beat writer Bryan Burns shows Stamkos demonstrating his old explosiveness.
His healing process also took a step forward when doctors removed a screw last month in a preplanned, 15-minute procedure. In an interview following the skate, Steven Stamkos shared that his leg “feels great now” after skating in conditions closer to game time action.
If he continues to skate like he did last week, the answer to the question below should be a resounding ‘yes’, for both Stamkos and the Tampa Bay fanbase wishing for a deeper playoff run.
…are you ready? pic.twitter.com/oE8yrhvFcr
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 10, 2014
Michelle Timian fell in love with hockey after watching a game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006 and has been following hockey ever since. She is a graduate of Western Illinois University with a degree in Creative Writing and is more comfortable in front of a keyboard than on skates. She also blogs for the New York Rangers at blueshirtsunited.com.