Oct 10, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates during the first period against the Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning C Steven Stamkos Must Make Decision on Olympic Participation

Unfortunately, decision time is just about here for Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos. With the 2014 Winter Olympic Games kicking off on Thursday in Sochi, Russia, the Lightning sniper doesn’t have much time left to decide if he will be healed enough to represent Team Canada in the games.

Stamkos has always asserted that he wanted to play in at least one game for the Tampa Bay Lightning before deciding whether or not he would be physically able to uphold the standard of play required in such a game.

Of course, we all know that Stamkos holds himself to much higher standards than anyone else could possibly force upon him, so when he says he’s ready to go, you can rest assured that he is indeed ready to go.

Right now, the Tampa Bay Lightning only have three more games to go until the Olympic Break, so it look like the time is almost nigh for Stamkos to make his final decision. The Bolts play on Tuesday, February 4th against the Minnesota Wild, and then they head home to the Tampa Bay Times Forum for a game on Thursday, February 6th against the Toronto Maple Leafs and one on Saturday, February 8th against the Detroit Red Wings.

This means that ultimately, Stamkos’ decision will more than likely have to be made by Wednesday. Not only so that he can devise his plan of action, but so that Team Canada can make any necessary moves to replace him should he not be ready to go when the time comes.

Everyone on the team hopes that the Lightning center will be ready on time; however, everyone shares the same sentiment that they do not want Stamkos to rush himself just to make it back in time.

Tampa Bay Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper told Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune how he felt about Stamkos’ progress and whether or not he thinks he’ll be ready in time.

“I think he is getting closer,’’ Cooper said. “I think in all of our minds we are trying to push him further ahead than he really is, but if you look at the medical reports, he is so far ahead of what any medical doctor would say you should be right now.” He continued. “So I think we should look at it that way. Is he going to be ready for the Olympics? Well, he’s already been a superhuman to get to the point where he is right now. I don’t know if he will be ready for the Olympics. We all hope he is, but the fact that we are having a conversation and talking about it is pretty remarkable.’’

We still don’t know if the Lightning center will be ready to travel to Sochi with Team Canada; however, as I said before, the decision day is definitely not far away.

Of course, we here at FanSided will keep you up to date on any developments in the story as they become available.

What do you think of the progress that Stamkos has made thus far in his recovery? Do you think he’ll be ready to head to Sochi with Team Canada, or do you think he is moving way to fast? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Tags: 2014 Winter Olympic Games NHL Sochi Steven Stamkos Tampa Bay Lightning

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