According to the Canadian Press on Thursday, Canadian men's hockey star Steven Stamkos of Markham, Ontario will be able to return for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi after breaking his right shin while playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Boston Bruins in November. The news came from Stamkos's coach in Tampa Bay, Jon Cooper.
Knowing that Stamkos should be ready a month from now is huge for a Canadian men's hockey team trying to defend their Olympic gold medal. At the time of his injury, Stamkos had 14 goals and nine assists for 23 points in only 17 games.
There is speculation that Stamkos, who had scored 156 goals from 2010-2012, might even play on the Lightning's number one line with Sidney Crosby. However it is important that Team Canada management see how Stamkos responds to game action before making that determination.
Here is Stamkos's responses to questions at the Canadian Olympic men's hockey Orientation Camp in Calgary this past August.
There is a lot of depth on Team Canada at the moment. How meaningful for you is it to be part of this mix?
"Yeah, it's an honour when your name is on the list and it was an honour for me to have my name thrown around at the past Olympics as a possible candidate. Anytime you represent Canada on a stage like this is an absolute honour."
Are you ok with possibly playing at wing instead of center at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi?
"Yeah, for me I got a chance to play wing at the World Championships this past year. I played wing with Claude Giroux. Obviously there were some things behind that seeing how different guys react to different positions. I'm a natural center, but for something like this you're willing to play any position. The depth up the middle is pretty amazing. If I don't get to play center behind Crosby, why not play the wing and hopefully get a chance to play with him."
Do you have a preference on who you would like to play with?
"You play and you do whatever you're asked in a tournament like this. You check your egos at the door. At every Hockey Canada event it's been like that and forever will. Especially on a stage like this where you will do anything possible to be on that team."
What were the players and coaches trying to accomplish at the Orientation Camp in Calgary?
"It was just a couple of days to get to know the players, coaching staff and the training staff, and everyone that was involved. We went over some video, we went over some stuff on the board and ran through some situational things and system tactics, and just get a feel for the spacing and where you got to be and what they want. It's just something hopefully that helps you learn."
The Olympic tournament is going to have a lot of strong calibre teams. Is there one team that concerns you more than any other?
"When you look at how improved some of the nations are. When you take a look at Switzerland and how much they've improved. Obviously you have Finland, and Sweden, and the U.S. is always a good team. When you're in a home country, the Russians will be pretty pumped up to play. For sure, they're going to be a team that is very anxious to get out there and prove to the world they are the best hockey nation in front of their home fans. If we play any of those teams, it will be exciting."