CAN STE VEN STAMKOSS BOUNCE BACK?

We en­ter 2017-18 look­ing for an­swers on these white-hot top­ics. None is big­ger than…

The Hockey News - - 10 Burning Questions - BY RYAN KENNEDY

WITH ALL APOLOGIES to Le­mony Snicket, Steven Stamkos has cer­tainly gone through a se­ries of un­for­tu­nate events in the past four years. First, there was the bro­ken right tibia, sus­tained in Novem­ber 2013 when then-Bru­ins de­fense­man Dougie Hamil­ton pushed him into the Tampa Bay goal­post. The re­sult was 45 games missed – not to men­tion the 2014 Sochi Olympics, where Canada went on to cap­ture the gold medal with­out Stamkos.

Two sea­sons later, it was the threat of blood clots that caused Stamkos to miss the fi­nal five games of the regu- lar sea­son and the en­tire play­offs save for one game, where the Light­ning would ul­ti­mately lose to the Pitts­burgh Pen­guins in Game 7 of the East­ern Con­fer­ence fi­nal. Stamkos main­tains he didn’t tech­ni­cally have blood clots, but in­stead a rare vein con­di­tion that could have led to block­ages, hence the need for blood thin­ners. Ei­ther way, an­other sea­son went down the drain.

Last year, it was an in­nocu­ous hit on Detroit’s Gus­tav Nyquist that ended up caus­ing a se­vere tear in Stamkos’ right knee (the lat­eral menis­cus, specif­i­cally). That cost the Tampa Bay cap­tain the fi­nal 65 games of the sea­son, and he is still re­cov­er­ing.

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