Steven Stamkos is progressing well in his recovery from a broken tibia, and after returning to the ice about a month ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning center took part in drills Thursday for the first time since his injury.
#tblightning star Steven Stamkos said today was a "big step" for him, participating in all the drills, even having a "spill" on the ice.—
Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) January 23, 2014
Stamkos said today is the best he has felt yet. Will have an x-ray tonight to see if everything is healed 100 percent.—
Shawn McKenzie (@ShawnMcKenzieSN) January 23, 2014
Stamkos suffered the injury Nov. 11 when he slammed his right leg against a goal post in a game against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.
Despite needing surgery and multiple months to fully recover, Stamkos was named to Team Canada’s final 25-man roster for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Stamkos’ goal is to take the ice for Canada when it defends its goal medal, but he has not been cleared for contact yet. Canada’s first game in Sochi is Feb. 13 against Norway.
The Lightning have not fallen down the standings without their best player, posting a 17-11-5 record since Nov. 11. Tampa Bay is just two points behind the Bruins in the Atlantic Division title race and holds the No. 3 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.
The credit for helping the team remain competitive without the NHL’s best goal scorer belongs to veteran winger Martin St. Louis and starting goaltender Ben Bishop. St. Louis has tallied 50 points (25 goals, 25 assists) in 50 games, and Bishop ranks in the top three in wins, save percentage and goals-against average.