Sports department for the student run radio station 90.3 WRST at UW-Oshkosh
This NHL season is very unique in that many of the players in the league will be playing for multiple teams during the regular NHL season. After much debate in the 2012-13 NHL lockout, the NHL decided this season that they would effectively shut down the NHL for just about all of February so that the many players of countless nationalities can represent their nation in the 2014 Winter Olympics to be played in Socci, Russia.
Many players take their Olympic team just as seriously, if not even more serious than their respective NHL team. Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin nearly didn’t play in the NHL this season because of concerns that he wouldn’t be healthy to play for his native country of Russia, who is hosing the Olympics. A great example of how a devastating injury can affect both teams is the one that unfortonatly occurred to Steven Stamkos on Monday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have stormed out to a 12-5 mark to start season prior to Monday. In the Lightning’s day game against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins when rising star of the squad Steven Stamkos was taken off on a stretcher midway through the second period and immediately sent to a Boston hospital.
The 23 year old took a fatal backcheck by Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The hit was so hard Stamkos was sent back into the goalpost with his right leg taking the brunt of the hit. The hit broke Stamokos’s right tibia with the typical healing time from this nasty injury being four to six months.
Missing games is something not in Stamkos’s nature as he has never missed a game due to injury in his career. Stamkos was a healthy scratch in three games during his 2008-09 rookie year, but hasn’t missed a game in the four plus years since.
Stamkos’s injury is even more unfortunate when you consider how phenomenal the young 23 year old has been. Since he came into the league as just an 18-year old at the start of the 2008-09 season, Stamkos has the most goals in the NHL with an eye-popping 222 goals in that span. The only player within 48 goals of Stamkos in that stretch is the Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin with 221. Stamkos gas also notched 187 assists in his promising career to give him 408 points in just 389 games.
Stamkos has also led the NHL in goals twice in his five full seasons. The first year was his second NHL season in 2009-10 when he shared the most goals title with Pittsburgh Penguin Sidney Crosby with 51. He was the third youngest player to record 50 goals in a season, with it only being done by Jimmy Carson and Wayne Gretzky at a younger age. The other occasion was in 2010-11 when he found the back of the net an astonishing 60 times.
The young Lightning star was also on pace for his best season ever. In 16 games in 2013-14, Stamkos was tied with the St. Louis Blues’ Alexander Steen for the most goals in the NHL with 14 goals. He has also notched nine assists this year to give him 23 points on the campaign which is tied with Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby for tops in the NHL. Stamkos was projected for a whopping 72 goals and 46 assists with his hot start this season.
While this injury hurts the Lightning in the NHL, the downpour will also transition to the Sochi Olympics in Russia to be played in February 2014. Stamkos was figuring to team up with a host of talent including the Penguin’s Sidney Crosby for team Canada. This injury will put a big blow into the Canadian’s hopes of winning back to back gold medals after winning the 2012 gold medal during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. The USA and Russia also figure to be big players in the 2014 Winter Olympics for hockey.
Wide World of Sports
In a heartwarming story, Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak will be back on the sidelines for the Texans to coach the team on Sunday when they take on the Oakland Raiders. He collapsed in a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football a week and a half ago while the team was jogging into the locker room with a convincing 21-3 lead but would lose the game 27-24.
Kubiak missed the team’s last contest against the Arizona Cardinals 27-24 to drop their record to 2-7. This is just one year removed from the team going 12-4 and the team coming off back to back year in which they won in the AFC Wild Card playoff against the Cincinnati Bengals. Wade Phillips, who has been the head coach in ether a full-time or interim bases, held down the fort in Kubiak’s absence.
Kubiak took over the Texans head coaching job in 2006 with a 61-58 record in his tenure at the helm of the Texans including those two playoff trips in 2011 and 2012. Kubiak has never had any reported history of health issues until his collapse dating all the way back to when he was a quarterback with the Denver Broncos in 1983.