What sort of recovery is Stamkos looking at?


Tampa Bay sniper Steve Stamkos suffered a broken right tibia during a collision in the Lightning’s 3-0 loss to Boston on Monday.

UPDATE: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has confirmed Stamkos will undergo surgery to fix the break.

“At this point Steven will be out indefinitely,” Yzerman said in a statement. “The medical staff in Boston, in consultation with our team physicians, has made the decision to surgically repair the injury. The procedure is expected to take place [Tuesday] morning.”

Based on previous cases, it’s possible the two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner could be out 3-6 months. Suffice to say, tibia breaks requiring surgery are serious — in 2001, then-Canucks forward Markus Naslund suffered one in a game against Buffalo.

From CBC:

Naslund, 27, broke both the tibia, the larger of two bones in the lower leg, and the fibia, in a game against the Buffalo Sabres. The left-winger spent the night in hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., before being flown to Vancouver on Saturday night.

[Dr. Bill] Regan explained the tibia takes 90 per cent of the weight when you walk. During the procedure, a rod was inserted down the middle of the bone and then had screws placed across it, inside the bone.

“That secured rotational stability of the fracture,” Regan said.

Naslund was alert after the operation and could leave hospital as early as Tuesday.

“There’s no need for him to have a cast,” said Regan. “He can start immediately with a range of motion of his knee and his ankle.

“He will be non-weight bearing for approximately 10 to 12 weeks. He can begin working on his muscles around his knee almost immediately.

“When the fracture has healed he should be ready to start skating. That is somewhere in the next three to four months.”

Granted, no two injuries are identical and it’s premature to suggest Stamkos’ recovery and/or rehab will mirror that of Naslund’s.

Another instance of a player fracturing his tibia and requiring surgery — Andrew Ference, with Boston during the 2008-09 campaign — was quite different. Ference suffered the break in mid-November and underwent surgery to place a pin in his leg, returning to the lineup two-and-a-half months later (missing 31 games in total).

Whatever the case may be, Stamkos’ Olympic chances have taken a definite hit. Team Canada will play its first game in 95 days and Yzerman needs to have his 23-man roster into the IIHF by the end of December. It could be incredibly risky to place Stamkos on that roster if he’s not fit to play.

Here’s hoping 3-on-3 doesn’t degenerate into a boring ‘game of keep-away’?

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Are coaches going to ruin 3-on-3 overtime?

It’s been the one, big worry since the NHL decided to change from 4-on-4 to 3-on-3 as a way to reduce the number of shootouts.

Via TSN’s Bob McKenzie, here’s a quote from an anonymous coach (talking about 3-on-3 strategy) that won’t exactly quell that worry:

“Really, it’s a game of keep-away, that’s what it is and the longer you can keep it away from the other team, the more likely they’ll break down. So I say let’s slow it down and hold onto that puck for as long as we can.”

Now take that a step further and imagine there’s a team that’s really good at shootouts. If you were coaching that team, might you tell your players to rag the puck for as long as possible to try and get to the skills competition?

Granted, five minutes is a long time to rag the puck. Not sure any team could play “keep-away” that long. Plus, there will always be teams that aren’t very good at the shootout; theoretically, those teams should be more willing to take their chances in 3-on-3.

But just remember that more time and space doesn’t always lead to more goals. Look at international hockey, which is played on a bigger ice surface. Canada won gold in Sochi by beating Latvia, 2-1, the United States, 1-0, and Sweden, 3-0. It was hardly firewagon hockey.

While nobody’s quite ready to suggest that 3-on-3 will actually lead to more shootouts, it will be interesting to see how things evolve, and if there are any unintended consequences.

“I don’t know if anyone’s figured it out completely yet,” Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said Saturday after losing in 3-on-3 overtime to Vancouver.

“The big thing is, you want to control the puck as much as you can. It’s 3-on-3, so there’s lots of room and space out there. You don’t need to give it away. I think it’s smart to just wait, take your time, and wait for a good opportunity.”

Oilers go captain-less, name four alternates instead

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Edmonton’s made a fairly significant shift in its leadership group.

The big news is the Oilers won’t have a captain this season, as Andrew Ference will relinquish the “C” he’s worn for the last two years.

Ference will, however, remain part of the group and wear an “A” as part of a four-man alternate captain collective, one that also includes Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

The news of Ference being removed as captain doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The veteran d-man is a well-respected leader, but isn’t expected to be in the lineup every night this season.

The decision to go without a captain, though, is something of a surprise, especially given what new head coach Todd McLellan endured during his final season in San Jose.

The Sharks’ captaincy issue — stripping Joe Thornton, then going with four rotating alternates — was an ongoing problem, something that players, coaches and GM Doug Wilson had to repeatedly address until it blew up in spectacular fashion.

That said, the circumstances in Edmonton are quite different.

It’s believed the club’s intentionally keeping the captaincy vacant, on the assumption that Connor McDavid will evolve into a superstar and, subsequently, the club’s unquestioned leader.

Finally, McLellan noted that with Eberle currently sidelined, a fifth Oiler would be added to the leadership group — veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who will serve as a temporary alternate.