It could not have been easy for Steven Stamkos to lay in a hospital bed in a relatively unknown city wondering if his season was going to be over. But the Tampa Bay Lightning forward’s stay in a Boston hospital was made a little bit easier by a surprise visitor.
Stamkos, who is making remarkable progress in his rehab from a broken tibia, revealed Monday that Bruins coach Claude Julien visited the All-Star forward in the hospital after Stamkos suffered the injury against the Bruins on Nov. 11. Stamkos also said he received a text from Boston captain Zdeno Chara on behalf of the entire team lending support for the injured superstar. During his meeting with the media Monday, Stamkos praised Julien and Chara for their class.
Julien and Stamkos aren’t exactly strangers. They’ve obviously done battle in the NHL, and Julien really got to know Stamkos when the forward was at Team Canada’s orientation camp a couple of months ago. Julien, who is part of the Canadian coaching staff, got to know Stamkos even better.
“Well, because I knew him and I had him at the Olympic Camp and I got to know Steve the person,” Julien told reporters Monday after the Bruins’ morning skate ahead of their game with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “And when you look at what he is in the league and what he’s accomplished, to have that happen to him I thought it was just important to go by and see how he was doing. It was as simple as that. Again, it’s a guy – I said that after the game – he’s one of those players that people from all the different cities come up to watch and play and he’s one of the reasons we fill buildings and you hate to see that, from anybody’s point of view, to see a guy like that get injured that way.
“So I stopped by and he certainly feels like he wants that opportunity to represent his country and he’s going to do everything he can and I just went there and kind of showed my support.”
There’s a chance the two are reunited soon. Incredibly, there’s still a chance Stamkos is able to play in the Olympics in February, despite initial fears that the injury would keep him out past then.