Steven Stamkos is eyeing a place on Team Canada for the Sochi Olympics after retuning to the ice following a fractured tibia.
The Tampa Bay Lightning star was diagnosed with a fractured tibia on 11th November but cameras caught him skating lightly around the ice shortly before the Lightning's 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday.
It caps a remarkable recovery for the forward, who has recovered much quicker expected. Speaking to ESPN, Stamkos admitted that Saturday wasn't the first time he'd put his skates back on following the injury.
"Obviously that one, the first time in front of cameras. Everyone got a glimpse of that. It's kind of baby steps right now.
To be able to get back on the ice, to be out there when the guys are coming for morning skate, pass the puck with some of the guys, you miss that part. Things are definitely on the right track."
Stamkos had recovered better than expected at the 4-week mark but will continue to have x-rays every two weeks until he is cleared to skate at full strength.
Although saying that he is skating without pain, Stamkos acknowledges that his leg is yet to fully heal.
"I'm not having any pain when I have my foot in the skate. I'm doing the little drills I have been doing," Stamkos said. "You know it's not 100 percent healed. ... That's the thing where I have to pull the reins on myself a little bit where it feels great, but it's that one little move that can create the setback."
Stamkos said that he is keeping himself motivated by aiming for spot on the Canadian team for Sochi 2014.
"I'm a pretty goal-oriented guy -- that's a goal I do have," Stamkos said. "If it happens that I do have a chance to go to Sochi, that's what I'm using as motivation."