Ice hockey-Canada's Stamkos to miss Sochi Games

Wed Feb 5, 2014 7:42pm EST
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(Reuters) - Prolific Canadian goal scorer Steven Stamkos will miss the Sochi Olympics because his broken leg has not healed, depriving the defending ice hockey champions of one of their best players.

A scan revealed Stamkos's fractured right tibia had not healed sufficiently for him to play, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the player's National Hockey League team, said on Wednesday.

"Today is obviously very disappointing for me," the Lightning center said in a statement released by the team.

"I honestly believe that we did everything possible in order to have my injured leg ready in time for the Olympics, but I realize you can't force healing.

"I know, in the best interest of my long term health, I cannot represent Canada in Sochi, as much as I would like to."

Team Canada is expected to announce Stamkos's replacement in the next few days.

Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, Marty St. Louis of the Lightning and James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins are candidates.

Stamkos, who turns 24 on Friday, fractured his tibia during an NHL game against the Boston Bruins in November, causing him to miss 39 regular season games.

The two-time NHL All-Star led the league in scoring in 2010 and 2012, and was tied with Alex Steen as the NHL's top goal scorer, and with Sidney Crosby for the points lead at the time of his injury.   Continued...

Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks up at the score clock during a break in play against the Winnipeg Jets during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Winnipeg March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Fred Greenslade