Stamkos back at Bolts practice, three weeks after vascular surgery


On Apr. 4, Tampa announced that captain Steve Stamkos underwent successful vascular surgery, and would require 1-3 months of recovery.

On Apr. 26, Stamkos was back at practice.

That was the scene in Tampa Bay on Tuesday, as Stamkos — wearing a red no-contact jersey — took part in full drills with teammates, and participated in line rushes.

This is a fairly big development, given both Stamkos and the organization have been largely mum on his status since surgery.

So, onto the obvious question — what’s his updated timetable for return?

The schedule could play a large role. Tampa Bay opens its second-round series with the Islanders on Wednesday, but the rest of the outlook remains TBD.

This series could be affected by arena availability, as Amalie Arena already has a tenant for Friday night and Barclays Center has a pair of Justin Bieber concerts on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

These might seem like minor issues, but the longer this series is stretched out, the better it’ll be for Tampa Bay.

Stamkos isn’t the only player the Bolts could get back into the mix. On Monday, head coach Jon Cooper said the club is hoping injured d-man Anton Stralman — currently sidelined with a broken leg — will “make an appearance” in the second round.