By Mike Harrington
The surprising season of the Tampa Bay Lightning now seems to be hanging in the balance after star center Steven Stamkos suffered what clearly looks to be a serious leg injury during today's Veterans Day matinee in Boston.
(6 p.m. update: The Lightning have confirmed Stamkos has suffered a broken right tibia and have announced he will have surgery Tuesday. TSN says the surgery could be season-ending but the team has announced no timetable).
While backchecking in his own zone, Stamkos was ridden into the goalpoast of the Tampa net and his right leg appeared to whip around the post in an ugly contortion. He tried to get up on the leg but collapsed in pain and started to pound the ice with his hand in agony as trainers and a Bruins team doctor attended to him.
Stamkos was removed from the ice via stretcher and has been taken to a Boston hospital for X-rays and treatment. Tampa Bay entered today's game atop the Eastern Conference standing at 12-4 and Stamkos was tied for the lead in both goals (14) and scoring (23 points). His 199 goals since the start of the 2009-10 season are 34 more than any other player in the league, so obviously no more needs to be written about what a huge loss this would be for the Lightning.
And it would be a huge loss for Team Canada as well, since Stamkos was expected to be one of its top centers for its run at defending its Olympic gold medal in Sochi in February.
Here's the video of the play and the aftermath, with descriptions by Lightning voices Rick Peckham and Bobby Taylor:
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