It’s been a long season full of adversity for the Tampa Bay Lightning. That isn’t new. But Steven Stamkos‘ decision to possibly represent Team Canada in the upcoming World Championships if invited surprised me considering his recent struggles with a nagging shoulder injury. All this led to questioning about whether participating was a good or bad idea.
The idea of Stamkos taking part in Worlds isn’t exactly farfetched given his career numbers (382 points in 369 NHL games). Actually, his talent level is rivaled by few others in this league, something a few record-setting feats–fourth youngest player to score 200 career goals and second in the 21st century to record 60 in one season– prove. He certainly has the desire to go and who can blame him.
“Any time you get a chance to represent your country, you want to go,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times Damian Cristodero.
In his case, health could play a role in whatever decision’s made. This isn’t the first time he’s experienced shoulder problems. In fact, an injury sustained to that same area caused him to miss last year’s tournament. Knowing that should make Lightning GM Steve Yzerman uneasy because any tournament contains risks and Stamkos is huge to the team’s overall success. Then again, it’s hard to imagine him sacrificing a promising career when there was every opportunity to play overseas during the lockout and he chose not to.
Can you imagine the Lightning playing without Stamkos, not because of retirement, but because he was careless? That just feels wrong to me, almost like lighting a cigarette in the car and then leaving it.
Of course, no invitations have been made yet so he can’t accept. These worries may even be without merit since Stamkos is a professional athlete who’s smart enough to know what’s right and wrong.
That being said, I won’t rest easy until a decision’s been made. Hopefully it’s the correct one, but if not he’ll suffer any consequences. Either way, I still think Stamkos should get the final say. While tough, the lesson learned could end up being invaluable.