At least spending the summer back home in Toronto gave Steven Stamkos
the comic relief he needed throughout his long contract negotiations with the Tampa Bay Lightning
Stamkos' intention all along was to re-sign with the Lightning as he did Tuesday, but he had to laugh out loud upon hearing and seeing some of the rumors that included his name and future over the past several weeks. He couldn't ignore the fact that so many people were speculating about why he hadn't signed yet and who would eventually extend the restricted free agent an offer sheet.
"I actually got a couple of texts from friends with a picture of my face photoshopped on Phil Kessel
's body," Stamkos said Tuesday night on a conference call announcing his new five-year contract reportedly worth $37.5 million. "Some people thought it was a legit photo. When they sent it to me I cracked up. I couldn't hold my laugh in that people were circulating that photo and thought it was real. That was comical."
Stamkos admitted that the rumors grew "tiresome," but he never lost a minute of sleep throughout the negotiations that took longer than both he and Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman
could have anticipated.