He appeared in one game, scored a goal and helped lift his Tampa Bay Lightning to a victory in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Now Steven Stamkos’ season is over. Head coach Jon Cooper announced that Stamkos season is ’done’ at today’s press conference.
“Hopefully the next time you see him on the ice is during a trophy presentation,” said Cooper. “To be honest, I didn’t think he was playing at all in these playoffs. I don’t think any of us did. So, he gave us 2:47 of brilliant hockey that’s a phenomenal story, scored a huge goal for us in a win and hopefully we can keep that momentum.”
Stamkos had sat out for the entire playoffs until Wednesday with an lower-body injury. Word was the 30-year-old was working out and felt close to returning and was itching to return to the ice. He got that opportunity, but it was quite obvious that he wasn’t himself and looked uncomfortable on the ice. On top of that, he only played in 2:47 of ice time (five shifts) during the game, yet miraculously found the net at 6:58 of the first period to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead, a game they eventually won 5-2.
“The conversation was this morning because there’s only one or two games left in the series,” Cooper said. “He did everything he could to get back, and he did get back and unfortunately he couldn’t go any further. I’m sure this will all be addressed after the series is over.
It’s not clear what the injury is that Stamkos has been dealing with. However, Stamkos underwent core muscle surgery in March that was expected to keep him out for six to eight weeks. Of course, the league shut down not long after that, but there will be no report on the specifics of his injury until after the Stanley Cup finals is complete.