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


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.)

Glencross released from another PTO, this time by Avs

Washington Capitals v Ottawa Senators
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Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.

Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.

While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.

A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.

Slepyshev earns final Oilers roster spot; Draisaitl to AHL

Anton Slepyshev, Anton Lander
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The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.

The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.

The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.

But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.

“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”

Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.