By Allan Muir
Steven Stamkos had to be stretchered off the ice this afternoon after suffering what appears to be a catastrophic injury to his right leg during a game against the Boston Bruins.
The NHL's leading goal scorer was backchecking deep in the Tampa Bay zone when a collision with Boston defenseman Dougie Hamilton sent him hard into the goal post to the left of Anders Lindback. His leg bent obscenely upon impact.
He tried to get to his feet, but fell back down immediately, clearly in a great deal of pain. He appeared to tell a trainer "It's broke," as medical staff immobilized the leg. He was taken directly to hospital.
There's no official word yet on the severity of the injury, but if it's as serious as it looks--and as Erlendson, the beat writer for the Tampa Tribune suggests--it's a devastating blow for both the East-leading Lightning and for Team Canada, which expected him to be a key part of its gold-medal defense in Sochi.
The Lightning also lost defenseman Sami Salo to an apparent leg injury in the contest.
UPDATE: It's now official. The Lightning have confirmed that Stamkos broke the tibia in his right leg and will require surgery. The tibia is the
non-weight-bearing bone in the leg. The recovery time for this type of injury varies according to the severity of the break, but typically runs from three to six months. Canada's first Olympic game is 95 days from today.
UPDATE 2:The Lightning have confirmed that Stamkos will undergo surgery to repair his leg. “At this point Steven will be out indefinitely,” GM Steve Yzerman said in a press release. "The medical staff in Boston, in consultation with our team physicians, has made the decision to surgically repair the injury. The procedure is expected to take place tomorrow morning. The biggest concern for me, and the rest of the Lightning, is that decisions are made in Steven’s best long-term interest, and we feel this is the appropriate course of action.”