Boucher: Stamkos Can Follow St. Louis’ Recovery Blueprint
After starting the season exceptionally well, the Tampa Bay Lightning suffered a tremendous loss in Boston Monday afternoon. Steven Stamkos appeared to lose an edge when back checking Dougie Hamilton as he drove the net, Stamkos went down and his leg collided with the goalpost. After being stretchered off the ice, the team revealed he suffered a broken left tibia and would undergo surgery today. While Stamkos isn’t the entire team, his fingerprints are all over their success so far. How can the Bolts recover from the possible loss of their phenom for the rest of the season?
As the news of the injury spread, long time Lightning fans were reminded of another similar injury to a rising star. On January 24, 2002, Tampa Bay was on the road playing the Penguins at Mellon Arena. Martin St. Louis and Pittsburgh defenseman Josef Melichar pursued the puck. St. Louis got Melichar’s stick caught between his legs, went into the boards shoulder first and his left leg twisted under him as he fell to the ice. Marty suffered a break of his fibula above his right ankle and was out for the remainder of the season. It took a metal plate and six screws to mend his leg. (Photo/ Sue Ferlita)
Don’t worry, there is a happy ending to the story. Marty used the recovery time to train harder than ever before. He ran a ton of steps and committed himself in the weight room. The work paid off and he posted then career highs in goals, assists, and points in the 2002-03 season. His efforts helped Tampa Bay secure their second post season berth in franchise history and their first playoff series win with his famous third OT goal against the Washington Capitals.
What does this mean for Steven Stamkos? He’ll still face a long recovery. Normal recovery time for a surgically repaired tibia is 4-6 months. The key word is “normal”. Attending Gary Roberts‘ High Performance Training Centre every summer for the last five years has transformed Stamkos into more of a super human. Marty committed himself to an intense training program to aid in his recovery but there isn’t much more for Stamkos to improve on. He is in peak physical condition and that can only help him heal.
There’s a lot of questions facing the Lightning in Stamkos’ absence. They may get some more answers after surgery reveals the extent of the break. Playing alongside Marty St. Louis has shown the young forward what it takes to succeed in the upper echelons of the league year after year. Stamkos has shown his drive to succeed and be the best at what he does. Hopefully those efforts will see him get well sooner rather than later.
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