‘I didn’t think I’d be walking’: Stamkos meets media without crutches, boot

17 Comments

On Monday, Steve Stamkos met with media for the first time since breaking his tibia on Nov. 11 and did it in style, walking to the podium without the use of crutches or a walking boot.

“I didn’t think I’d be walking,” Stamkos said, as per Lightning beat reporter Missy Zielinski. Stamkos also noted he’s been walking on the leg for the last two days without any support.

The 23-year-old sniper is just 13 days removed from having a metal rod inserted in his leg the length of his tibia, which will be a “permanent part of his body,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

But based on what he told the media Monday, Stamkos won’t let the injury derail his hopes of getting back into action in time to represent Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

When the injury first occurred, estimates for a timetable for return were at three months — which would nudge right up against the NHL break for Olympic participation.

According to Team Canada head coach Mike Babcock, Stamkos will remain on the team’s roster right up until the start of the tournament, at which time Babcock and GM Steve Yzerman will decide whether to include Stamkos in Russia, or call up an emergency replacement.

This is sort of like what Canada did in 2010 with Ryan Getzlaf and Jeff Carter. Getzlaf suffered an ankle injury just prior to the games; Carter, tabbed as Getzlaf’s fill-in, was so close to becoming a replacement player he was actually flown to Vancouver on GM Steve Yzerman’s orders.

Stamkos has represented Canada internationally at the junior and World Championship level, but never at the Olympics. He was named to Canada’s “stand-by” list for the ’10 games.

UPDATE: Stamkos was injured in Boston, and the Bruins have gone above and beyond in reaching out to him. B’s captain Zdeno Chara reached out to Stamkos via text and head coach Claude Julien paid a visit in hospital.

(Image courtesy Erik Erlendsson, Tampa Bay Tribune.)

PHT’s second-round playoff predictions, featuring the red-hot Random Thing Picker

AP
4 Comments

It was a tough first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for many of the so-called experts of the world.

Upsets included the Predators over the Blackhawks and the Blues over the Wild. The Rangers over the Canadiens was a quasi-upset, too.

Here at PHT, it was a mixed bag. Mike Halford and Cam Tucker each went an impressive 6-2. And so too did the Random Thing Picker, which as its name suggests, picks random things. (And picks them rather well, apparently.)

Of note, the Random Thing Picker and James O’Brien were the only ones to pick the Preds over the ‘Hawks. So congratulations to both robotic lifeforms on that bit of soothsaying.

Rounding out the rest of the first-round results, Adam Gretz and Joey Alfieri went 4-4, while at 3-5, O’Brien and yours truly couldn’t even crack .500. (Stupid Jake Allen.)

On to the second round!

Washington versus Pittsburgh (Stream Capitals-Penguins)

Brough: Capitals in 7
Halford: Penguins in 6
O’Brien: Capitals in 7
Gretz: Capitals in 7
Tucker: Capitals in 6
Alfieri: Capitals in 7
Random Thing Picker: Capitals

New York versus Ottawa (Stream Rangers-Senators)

Brough: Senators in 6
Halford: Senators in 7
O’Brien: Rangers in 7
Gretz: Rangers in 6
Tucker: Rangers in 6
Alfieri: Senators in 6
Random Thing Picker: Senators

St. Louis versus Nashville (Stream Blues-Predators)

Brough: Predators in 6
Halford: Blues in 7
O’Brien: Predators in 6
Gretz: Predators in 6
Tucker: Predators in 7
Alfieri: Predators in 6
Random Thing Picker: Blues

Anaheim versus Edmonton (Stream Ducks-Oilers)

Brough: Ducks in 7
Halford: Ducks in 6
O’Brien: Ducks in 6
Gretz: Oilers in 7
Tucker: Oilers in 6
Alfieri: Ducks in 6
Random Thing Picker: Ducks

Feel free to add your picks below…

Auston Matthews to skip Worlds

Getty
1 Comment

Auston Matthews is going to take some time off.

As such, the 19-year-old star forward won’t be heading overseas to represent the United States in the upcoming World Championship.

You can hardly blame him. Matthews just finished his rookie season in the NHL, playing all 82 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, plus six more in the playoffs.

Oh, and he also played in the World Cup for Team North America.

Matthews did participate in last year’s Worlds. He had six goals and three assists in 10 games on the way to a fourth-place finish.

Related: Gaudreau, Eichel commit to USA Worlds roster

Blackhawks fire their AHL head coach

Getty
5 Comments

Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks fired longtime assistant coach Mike Kitchen.

Today, it was longtime AHL coach Ted Dent who got the ax.

Dent has been the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs the past six seasons, and he was an assistant coach for Chicago’s AHL affiliate the previous five seasons.

“The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization,” GM Stan Bowman said. “He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best.”

The IceHogs missed the playoffs this season, finishing last in the AHL’s Central Division with a record of 25-39-12.

Related: A furious Bowman addressed the Blackhawks’ postseason failure

Report: Canucks close to naming Travis Green head coach

Getty
Leave a comment

The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly set to announce Travis Green as their next head coach.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the announcement will be made in the next couple of days.

Green, who played over 1,000 games in the NHL including the playoffs, has been the head coach of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Utica the past four seasons. Under his watch, the Comets have played mostly winning hockey in spite of some rather depleted lineups.

Ever since Willie Desjardins was fired at the end of the season, Green has been the leading candidate to take over in Vancouver. The only question, really, was whether he’d be a candidate for another NHL head-coaching vacancy, perhaps with the Florida Panthers.

Assuming no last-minute hiccups, Green will take over a transitioning Canucks team that has finished 28th and 29th overall in its last two seasons, respectively.

“We’re going to be young,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said. “Young players make mistakes. There’s going to be some growing pains. We need a coach that understands exactly where we are.”

Related: In farewell to Vancouver, Desjardins defends his approach to young players