Lightning coach Jon Cooper knows it's important that his team move on, but admits it tough getting the image of Steven Stamkos's broken leg out of his head.
"I can watch a horror movie and stuff and be ok with it," Cooper said. "It's uncomfortable. You think about it. Just think about that happening to your own leg. Thinking of the pain he must have been in at the time it happened. Then to have something artificial, put into your leg. Just describing it right now is gross."
Back home for the first time since the devastating loss of their superstar, Steven Stamkos remains the talk of the team.
"Yeah, it was a little weird," said Tyler Johnson, whose locker is right next to Stamkos's. "We had video this morning. I almost said, 'where's Stammer,' ‘cause no one was sitting there. Obviously, it's a big loss for our team, but hopefully he can come back as soon as possible."
Players in Lightning's dressing room are still trying to get us to not having #91 around. As important as Steven Stamkos is to this team, their captain Martin St. Louis delivered a message to the rest of the guys in the locker room -- that Steven Stamkos is one of many.
"It's been a pretty tough couple of days," St. Louis said. "To have to play a game that night (Tuesday Montreal) I just tried to make sure we had the right mindset."
"Everyone is waiting for the slipper to fall off the foot," Cooper said. "I think that was our big message to the guys. Well, we can be looked at as a one-man team or we can be looked at as a team."
While Jon Cooper believes that Stamkos will return at some point this season, those in the Lightning's front office admit they don't really know right now. The Lightning are hopeful that after a week of rehabilitation, they'll get more clarity.
The focus is to be in playoff position when he returns.
"We are going to 'game it out' every night for him," said Brett Connelly who takes Stamkos's position in the lineup. "When he's ready to come back, hopefully we are in a good position heading into the post-season."
Stamkos's spirit is still with the team. With a tongue in cheek, Jon Cooper has an idea on how they can still use their wounded star when he makes a return to the Forum.
"If it's ever a time we are down and we need a lift, then let's hold in out (to the crowd) and lift the curtain. Maybe that will change things," he said.
What the Lightning don't need to do is change is their winning ways. They host the Anaheim Ducks tonight sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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