Lightning Coach Jon Cooper Has ‘No Doubt’ Steven Stamkos Will Return This Season

StevenStamkosIt’s not a matter of if Steven Stamkos will return from a broken leg this season, it’s a matter of when — or maybe that’s just wishful thinking from someone whose job would be a lot easier if that was the case.

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper is fairly certain that Stamkos will return this season from a broken tibia he suffered Monday afternoon against the Bruins. In fact, Cooper wonders whether Stamkos could be back in time to take the ice in Russia for the Canadian team when the Olympics begin in February.

“In my heart,” Cooper said, according to, “I know he’s coming back. I have no doubt.

“I don’t think the question is going to be, ‘Is he coming back to play this year for the Tampa Bay Lightning? The question is, ‘Is he going to be back to play for the Canadian Olympic team?’ I’m the optimistic coach, but that’s how it might turn out.”

Stamkos underwent surgery for the broken tibia Tuesday morning at Mass General Hospital in Boston. The timetable for Stamkos’ return is still uncertain, but he’s expected to be out for at least a few months.

The Bolts have gotten along pretty well without Stamkos for two games, at least. They beat the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday before returning home for a convincing win over Anaheim, the NHL’s best team.

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