When the Tampa Bay Lightning took the ice for practice this morning, there was one face that was noticeably missing, Lightning center Steven Stamkos.
As you can imagine, this led to a flurry of speculation as to his condition. Has Stamkos suffered a setback? Is he progressing too quickly? Lord forbid, something else is wrong with the Lightning sniper.
Twitter was abuzz with the same speculation. Everyone from fans to media outlets were left wondering what happened to Stamkos.
It’s a curious absence for Stamkos, who had been skating a lot with team. Wasn’t available to media Sat. and was on ice briefly b4 practice
— Joe Smith (@TBTimes_JSmith) January 27, 2014
Stamkos not practicing makes me want to cry — aarynlee (@_fritzzzz_) January 27, 2014
Not a sure sign of a set back but also not great for lightning fans after all the strives stamkos has been making:
— Joe Martini (@JoeMartini91) January 27, 2014
Thankfully, all of our panic is unwarranted. Tampa Bay Lightning beat reporter Missy Zielinski cleared everything up in quick fashion.
#TBLightning‘s Steven Stamkos not on ice for practice with team; having an off-ice rehab day.
— Missy Zielinski (@Missy_Zielinski) January 27, 2014
So, Lightning fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Steven Stamkos is still making the necessary strides to get back out on the ice; he’s just doing it at his pace (which is still much faster than most athletes) and doing it in a manner that won’t cause him to delay his return any more than absolutely necessary.
What do you think of the progression that the Lightning sniper has made thus far? Do you think that Stamkos will realistically be back in a Lightning uniform prior to the Olympic Break? Will he be able to join his country in Sochi for the Winter Olympics? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.