Crosby or Ovechkin? Alex or Sidney? The great debate in the NHL just got a hell of a lot harder because you have to add one more name to that list…..Steven Stamkos. The 20 year old “veteran” of the Tampa Bay Lightning has been lights out all season. Tied for the league lead in goals with 21 so far, and second in the NHL in points, Stamkos is showing all the tools and praise of being a number one overall pick back in 2008.
Stamkos came into the league with an absurd amount of pressure back in the 2008-2009 Season. You may remember then Tampa head coach, Barry Melrose, almost ruining him from the get go. Between the criticism and ice time problems, Melrose also thought that he wouldn’t be the guy in Tampa in the future. Guess he was wrong. Then Rich Tocchet came in and help mold Stamkos into the prolific goal scorer he is today by teaching him and easing him into the grind of a grueling and long NHL regular season.
Another reason for Stamkos success, and he probably will not ever admit it, is the disappointment of being left off the 2010 Canadian Olympic Team by Steve Yzerman. Since that brisk December afternoon when the roster was announced, all Stamkos has done has scored more goals than any other NHL’er. Motivated a bit? Stamkos didn’t go out and cry foul in the press or complain, he went out and played hockey. A sign of character and a sign that he wanted to make others wonder why they didn’t take him on that team. He easily could have packed it in, but he didn’t, he wanted to make himself better for it. That is a sign of a great player. Stamkos will all but have a spot inked on any future Canadian teams for years to come if he continues to play the way he has.
Stamkos has also finally left a mark in the Tampa area with fans. The Lightning launched a “Seen Stamkos” campaign when he first came aboard with the team. Now Tampa fans are actually seeing Stamkos as attendance in Tampa is up more in the 2010-2011 season from the 09-10 season, and should continue to rise with all the hype around him. Stamkos will be an all-star this season too and granted the way he is playing he should be a nominee for the Hart Trophy. The argument may come up about him being surrounded by the likes of Marty St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier but Stamkos is the main reason that Tampa is challenging for a playoff spot this year.
Its” Stammer Time” right now in the NHL and in Tampa, and it will continue to be so in the future.
About the Author
Written by George Kouvalis
A huge fan of sports who loves to travel for major events. I've seen my fair share of major games and events including three Olympics, Wimbledon, The Masters etc.... Always up for a road trip or a drink to talk over sports or pro wrestling, in any city I am in or online. Favorite Teams: Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Bulls, San Francisco 49ers, Toronto Argonauts, Manchester United, and of course the teams I blog for, the Texas Rangers and Buffalo Sabres. Follow me on twitter at the handle georgekouvalis