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Lightning star Stamkos on ice at morning skate

by Staff

Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos was on the ice Saturday at Prudential Center, 33 days after breaking his right leg in a collision with a goal post.

Stamkos joined his Lightning teammates at their morning skate before a game against the New Jersey Devils. He was wearing a track suit and doing some stickhandling drills in a Vine video posted on the team's official Twitter account.

"Medical advances, I guess," Stamkos told the Lightning website when asked how he is back on the ice so quickly. "I'm feeling good. Everything is on track. My four-week X-ray looks good. I'm just starting to progress, and obviously make sure there are no setbacks, but I'm feeling really good.

"I thought I might have an issue with that bottom screw in there but I don't. There's still a little bit of swelling in the ankle and the leg, so you feel that a little bit, but I don't think I'm going to have a problem with the screw, so that's a good thing."

Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reported it is Stamkos' first time on skates since the injury, which occurred Nov. 11 at TD Garden in Boston. Stamkos hinted it might not have been his first time, but he might have been playing it coy for his amusement.

"This is the first time [the media] saw me skate," he said with a smile. "It feels good. It is just nice to get back out there, whether it was just putting the skates back on for the first time and walking around the room and then to get out there and stickhandle and shoot the puck and not feel pain. Obviously I'm not going out there and actually skating because you don't want any setbacks, but mentally it is just so good to get out there on the ice. That's a positive for me and definitely going to help me."

Stamkos, who two weeks ago walked into a press conference without a cast or protective boot, has stated his goal is to return in time to play for the Lightning before the 2014 Sochi Olympics in February and represent Canada in that tournament.

He had 14 goals and 23 points in 17 games before the injury to his tibia.

"There is healing taking place in the bone, but by no means is it close to fully healed," Stamkos said. "Only time will tell, but we've definitely ramped up the rehab, whether it was with the water treadmill, in the gym, now on the ice. This ice stuff is really not so much for my leg. It is more about keeping my hands loose, shooting some pucks. I'm obviously not going out there and skating around a lot. We'll see, but everything has gone great so far."

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