About two weeks ago, Steven Stamkos caused a stir by (briefly) “favoriting” stories pondering a Lebron James-inspired* homecoming to the Toronto Maple Leafs once he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2016. He removed such favorites from Twitter, yet it caused some hysterics among Maple Leafs fanatics.
(Hey, it’s the summer, which you may notice is a tough time for hockey-crazed people.)
Stamkos broke his silence on that subject on Wednesday, essentially telling everyone to take it easy in an interview with the Canadian Press.
“We’ll see what happens. It’s a couple years away,” Stamkos said. “Right now I’m focused on what I have to do to win in Tampa, and I think we’ve really established ourselves as a team that can compete in upcoming years.
“For me, that’s the important thing is getting a chance to win. It looks like we’re going to have that chance for a couple years.”
Well, that’s not exactly an emphatic “no,” but it’s not exactly an invitation to play this song, either.
While more than a few Tampa Bay Lightning fans might be hyperventilating at the idea of their team on the rise losing another captain, the message really might be that the Bolts need to do everything in their power to make sure Stamkos, 24, views his squad as legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
In the meantime, Stamkos said he tries “not to focus about that stuff” and appreciates that Tampa Bay isn’t the hockey “mecca” that Toronto is. Of course, he also said he has fun every time he goes back to Toronto …
* – To be fair, the Lebron – Stamkos parallel has some serious holes in it, especially since the NBA star actually was drafted by his hometown team before leaving for Florida in free agency. Still, that last part makes it a fun comparison in slower hockey times. (Replace fun with “unnerving” if you cheer for the Lighting.)