COMMENTARY | It was a sight all too familiar for the Boston Bruins and their fans inside the TD Garden. Only this time it was a player in an opposing uniform instead of one of their own.
Tampa Bay Lightning centerman Steven Stamkos crashed into his own net at the 12:49 mark of the second period, dislodging the goal post from its position on the ice. Stamkos was battling Bruin defenseman Dougie Hamilton on the play as both players crashed to the ice and into the net. Stamkos' right leg took the brunt of the force. He immediately popped up but fell back to the ice just as fast.
The NHL's leading scorer and who many around the league describe as one of the new faces of the league would eventually be taken from the ice on a stretcher. It has since been confirmed Stamkos broke his right tibia on the play.
Just five months prior, on the same ice, Bruins defenseman Greggory Campbell broke his fibula in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Unlike Stamkos, Campbell was able to remain standing, albeit hunched over for the most part, on the ice for close to two minutes to help the Bruins kill off a Pens power play.
Campbell has appeared in all 17 games this season for the Bruins but admits he is still trying to get back to 100 percent from the injury. He said he wishes Stamkos the best of luck in his recovery.
"I have a lot of respect for him, but whether it's him or somebody else, injuries are tough, tough to come back from," Campbell said. "It's definitely a long road and I wish him the best."
Stamkos entered the game on Monday tied with the Penguins' Sidney Crosby for the league lead in points (23) and with Alex Steen of the St. Louis Blues in goals (14).
In the two-plus games against the Bruins this season Stamkos failed to reach the scoring column.
As many Bruins players weighed in on their thoughts on the Stamkos injury, the one word that came about was "respect". Not surprising, Stamkos is one of the league's "good guys" and it would be a tall task to find any ill-mannered comments, league wide, about the star.
"When it comes down to seeing somebody laying on the ice and being hurt, I think everybody feels for it," Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. "So we just hope that he's going to be okay because he's one of the best players in the league."
The Bruin that may have been affected by it the most, mentally, was Hamilton.
"It kind of scared me," Hamilton said. "You don't really expect something like that to happen when you are just driving the net, but obviously it was pretty unfortunate."
Hamilton had jumped into the play from the blue line and Stamkos was back checking on the play.
Bruins coach Claude Julien mentioned no matter whose team the injured player is on its tough for everyone involved.
"I don't care whether he's on another team or not, a player like that is what people pay to come and watch," Julien said. "And when you see a player get injured like that, you don't like seeing that even as an opposing coach."
Lightning coach Jon Cooper had a mixed reaction.
"I don't know how many people are here tonight (Monday) but it's obviously tough to see him go down," Cooper said. "Not only for our team, that's like one of the best players in the world.
"People come here to cheer on the Boston Bruins, but they also come to see guys like Steven Stamkos play hockey."
Cooper was then asked if he thought the play was an unfortunate one or if there was any more to it.
"I won't comment on that," he said.
Travis David is a freelance sports writer and has been published in the Chicago Sun-Times among other newspapers and online publications. Follow him on Twitter @Tdavid_21.
SOURCES: Quotes gathered from Boston Bruins media website.
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