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Stanley Cup Final

Lightning's Stamkos skips practice, plays it safe

Monday, 01.27.2014 / 1:23 PM / News

NHL.com

Injured Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos was scheduled to practice Monday but decided to "err on the side of caution" after his right leg didn't feel right. Team reporter Missy Zielinski revealed that Stamkos briefly came out on the ice before saying his leg "didn't feel the best."

Stamkos broke that right leg in a Nov. 11 game against the Boston Bruins and underwent surgery the following day. He's seemingly made rapid progress in his comeback, which he hopes will put him back in the Lightning lineup prior to the start of the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Despite being hurt, Stamkos was named to Hockey Canada's roster for Sochi.

"Whenever it doesn't feel good, it's a little frustrating," Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times on Monday. "But I've not gone through something like this before, so when things don't feel well, you want answers right away, and you want to know how to fix it. But it's not necessarily that easy.

"It's been tough, the days it doesn't feel good, especially after the strides that I've taken and how good I felt on the ice the other day. But you have to be smart with this. I thought today was a smart decision and we'll see how it feels tomorrow."

Stamkos and coach Jon Cooper both said it was not a setback, and Stamkos will still accompany the team on a road trip that begins Tuesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

"I can't sit here and say that's a setback," Cooper said. "A setback would be he's not coming on the trip, but he's coming on the trip."

In 17 games this season, Stamkos has 14 goals and 23 points.

We're certainly happy we got the win, but we feel we have a long way to go obviously. We're going take another step in San Jose and it is going to be a tough one.

— Los Angeles Kings forward Justin Williams said after his team's Game 4 win vs. the San Jose Sharks