The Tampa Bay Lightning will have the next month or so of hockey without their team captain. Center Steven Stamkos will miss six to eight weeks after he undergoes surgery Monday to repair a core muscle injury.
Stamkos was forced to leave Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the time, coach Jon Cooper said the six-time All-Star center could no longer play through a lingering issue, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Cooper also said after Thursday's game, which Stamkos also missed, that he has been playing through this pain for some time now, but this surgery will hopefully address the main problem.
Regardless of where his recovery lands in the given range, Stamkos will certainly have to miss some postseason action as a result of this surgery. If he heals up in six weeks, he'll presumably make it back for a Game 3 of the first round, while eight weeks could mean not returning until the second round --
The center will get the surgery done at Washington University in St. Louis from a doctor who specializes in the type of abdominal surgery he requires. This is not Stamkos's first time missing games due to injury this season. In early February, the Tampa Bay captain had to miss three games to deal with a lower-body injury.