Lightning: Stamkos done for the Stanley Cup Finals

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said we’ve seen the last of captain Steven Stamkos on the ice for the Stanley Cup Finals. The 2:47 he played in game three will be it for the former first overall draft pick.

“To be honest, I didn’t think he was playing at all in these playoffs,” Cooper said. “I don’t think any of us did. So, he gave us 2:47 of brilliant hockey and that’s a phenomenal story, scored a huge goal for us in a win and hopefully we can keep that momentum.”

I wrote about what his game three appearance possibly meant to the Lightning an the kind of lift it provided. However, the Lightning still have a job to do, leading the Stanley Cup Finals 3-2 over the Dallas Stars.

It’s heartbreaking to see Stamkos suffer another major injury during a postseason run. Of course we all remember his triumphant return in game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins is 2016, but the Lightning still came up short and failed to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals that year.

Despite injuries, Stamkos will still go down as one of the greatest players in the history of the NHL. It just makes you wonder how much better he could have been – or how much higher in the all-time rankings he would be – had he not dealt with so many issues.

In his absence, it’s been Victor Hedman as the defacto captain and leader on the ice. Stammer is still around behind the scenes, in the locker room, etc. but it’s Hedman that has been the rock for the Lightning throughout the postseason.

“He did everything he could to get back. And he did get back, and unfortunately he couldn’t go any further,” Cooper said. “Hopefully the next time we see him on the ice is for a trophy presentation.”