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Hextall on Hockey: Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos remains sidelined during Cup run

In this Dec. 21, 2019, file photo, Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos (91) looks on during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Washington.
In this Dec. 21, 2019, file photo, Tampa Bay Lightning centre Steven Stamkos (91) looks on during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Washington. AP Photo/Nick Wass, File

Nov. 11, 2013: the second period between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins. Steven Stamkos crashes into a goalpost, breaking his right tibia.

The injury held Stamkos off Team Canada’s roster for the 2014 Olympic games and he would watch from the sidelines as his fellow countrymen captured gold.

Fast forward to the current day.

The team that Steven Stamkos has played his entire career for after being drafted first overall in 2008, the team that he captains, the team that he scored a record-setting 60-goal season for, the team that he opted out of free agency for and took a hometown deal for is now a win away from the Stanley Cup final.

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But sadly, Stamkos has been sidelined the entire playoffs due to a lower-body injury after having core surgery in March.

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I can’t help but feel just gutted for him.

I know injury is part of the game but every time I watch the Lightning, I can’t help but think, what if they win the Cup and Stamkos doesn’t skate in a single playoff game?

Yes, Stamkos is contributing as an influence in the room but it’s not the same as playing, as battling on the ice with your teammates and embracing the grind of series after series.

As the captain, if Tampa wins, Stamkos will see his name on the Stanley Cup. That in itself is an honour.

But this ice queen can’t help but have a bleeding heart for Stamkos every time Tampa takes another step closer to capturing the Cup.

So, here’s hoping that when it comes to his recovery, Stamkos catches lightning in a bottle.

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