Less than 24 hours before Hockey Canada’s roster announcement for the 2014 Olympic team, Steve Stamkos made a statement of his own.
Stamkos skated for 30 minutes at the MTS Centre on Monday — in advance of Tampa Bay’s game tomorrow in Winnipeg — and said he was feeling as good as he’s felt since breaking his leg on Nov. 11.
“Probably best I’ve felt,” Stamkos said, as per TSN. “Trying to make sure it feels better each and every time I get on the ice and today was another indication of that, so I am very pleased.”
It’s expected that Stamkos, 23, will be named to Canada’s roster tomorrow — head coach Mike Babcock all but confirmed that in the immediate aftermath of the broken leg. Canada could (and most likely will) carry Stamkos on the roster right up until February, then make a decision on his ability to participate, sort of like what it 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 and is clearly focused on being healthy to play in Sochi.
“That’s my goal,” Stamkos said. “[I’m] going to do everything I can to make sure that happens.”
Stamkos was on ice about 30min today. Still experiences some pain skating and expects to for awhile, but says it wasn’t too bad.
— Sara Orlesky (@saraorlesky) January 6, 2014