In a gut-wrenching scene Monday night, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Steven Stamkos broke his right leg as he crashed into his team’s goal during a matchup with the Boston Bruins. Stamkos will undergo surgery on Tuesday and is out indefinitely.
As Stamkos came down the ice into the defensive zone, he was battling for position with Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Stamkos then lost his footing and flew into the left goalpost, and on replay you can see just how hard he collided with it.
Stamkos then tried to get up and skate off but collapsed quickly and stayed down, rolling on the ice in agony. As Tampa Bay’s trainer arrived from the bench Stamkos could be seen saying “it’s broken.” The diagnosis is, in fact, a broken right tibia.
The 23-year-old Stamkos was on his way to another stellar season. He was tied for the league lead in goals (14) and points (23) already. Now it wouldn’t be shocking if he missed the rest of the season, or at least most of it.
Since the 2008-09 season, Stamkos has the most goals of anyone in the NHL with 222. Alex Ovechkin is second with 221. Stamkos has won the Maurice Richard Trophy, given to the NHL’s top goal scorer, twice. He was also the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. Clearly he’s one of the league’s best players and this is a huge blow to not just the Lightning, but also the NHL.
There should be a clearer timetable for his return after surgery later on Tuesday. Most estimates put his recovery in the three to four month range and that means Stamkos could also miss the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. That would be a big blow to a Canadian team that will surely be favored entering the games.
Video of the injury is below: