The verdict is in, Tampa Bay Lightning star forward Steven Stamkos will not be making the trip to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Olympics. It has been a question since his injury if he would be able to get back in the lineup by February, and when he was walking two week after his injury, it looked almost certain that he would be back in time. However, a CT Scan conducted on Wednesday proved what Canadians dreaded, Stamkos will not be cleared for play. Lightning Medical Director, Ira Gutentag, said that Stamkos will continue rehabilitation with the Lightning staff during the Olympic break and will be reevaluated in two-to-three weeks.
“After reviewing the CT scan this afternoon, Dr. Gutentag made it clear to me and to Steven, that the tibia is not completely healed and therefore he should not be participating in game action at any time in the near future,” GM Steve Yzerman said in making the announcement. “Although the doctor was pleased to this point with the healing process, he explained that the callus surrounding the fracture site is not 100 percent consolidated, and Steven should not play until that happens.”
After receiving the injury on November 11th in a game against the Boston Bruins, Stamkos has missed thirty-nine regular season games to this point.
“Today is very disappointing for me,” Stamkos said. “I believed that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready in time for the Olympics, but I realize you cannot force healing. I know, in the best interest of my long term health, that I cannot represent Canada in Sochi, as much as I would like to.”
Now comes the question of who is going to replace Stamkos in the Team Canada lineup. The front runners for the position include fellow Lightning teammate, Martin St. Louis, Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux, and Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal.