Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will not play again during the Stanley Cup final, head coach Jon Cooper said on Sunday, adding the next time the team’s top star might be seen on the ice is during the trophy presentation.
The Lightning, who lead the best-of-seven final 3-2, will have a chance on Monday to clinch the franchise’s second Stanley Cup when they face off against the Dallas Stars in Game 6 in Edmonton, one of two COVID-19 bubbles used by the National Hockey League for the post-season.
Dallas staved off elimination with a 3-2 win in double overtime on Saturday night.
Recovering from March surgery to repair a core muscle injury, Stamkos has been limited to five shifts and just under three minutes of ice time during the playoffs. But he made them count, scoring a key goal in the Lightning’s Game 3 win that allowed them to take a 2-1 series lead.
WATCH | Stamkos scores in his brief return:
“Stammer is done for the series,” said Cooper, adding he discussed the situation with Stamkos earlier on Sunday. “Hopefully the next time you see him on the ice, it will be for the trophy presentation.”
As team captain, Stamkos would accept the Stanley Cup if the Lightning win the championship.
“He did everything he could to get back and he did get back. Unfortunately, he couldn’t go any further,” Cooper said.
“He’s for sure missed on the ice but the rest of the series is done for him.”
With the series tied 1-1, Stamkos, twice a winner of the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer, provided a huge emotional lift, scoring seven minutes into the opening period of Game 3 to put Tampa ahead 2-0.
Stamkos did not play during the final six minutes of the first period and never took another shift the rest of the game.
WATCH | Stamkos’ return stuff of Stanley Cup lore:
“To be honest, I didn’t think he was going to play at all in these playoffs,” said Cooper. “I don’t think any of us did, so he gave us 2:47 of brilliant hockey that is a phenomenal story, scored a huge goal for us in a win and hopefully we can keep that momentum moving forward.”
NBA Considering Two-Week Midseason Break With All-Star Game Likely Canceled – RealGM.com
The NBA is considering a two-week break at the midway point of the 20-21 season as there almost certainly won’t be an All-Star Weekend as scheduled in Indianapolis.
The NBA is proposing a 72-game regular season and a play-in tournament ahead of the playoffs.
The league played their All-Star Game during the lockout-shortened 11-12 season on February 26th, 2012.
NBA Targeting Dec. 22 Start, 72-Game Schedule With Finals Over By Olympics – RealGM.com
The NBA is targeting Tuesday, December 22nd for the start of the 20-21 season with a 72-game regular season that finishes before the 2021 Olympics begin on July 23rd. The league has started the season on a Tuesday in recent years with a doubleheader on TNT. Christmas Day falls on a Friday this year and would likely feature a full slate of games throughout the day on ABC, ESPN and TNT.
Beginning the 20-21 season around Christmas Day would allow the league to return to a semi-normal schedule while potentially allowing stars to play in the Olympics.
“It may be too quick, but it also makes too much sense,” one high-ranking team official told The Athletic.
The NBA still prefers in-market play for the 20-21 season instead of a bubble or multiple bubbles.
There has been more support for a quicker than previously planned turnaround because it allows the league to return to its typical schedule and will generate more revenue.
Ravens acquire Yannick Ngakoue from Vikings – theScore
The Baltimore Ravens acquired defensive end Yannick Ngakoue from the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Ngakoue’s tenure with the Vikings lasted just six games after the Jacksonville Jaguars dealt him to Minnesota this offseason for a 2021 second-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round selection.
The star pass-rusher will fly to Baltimore in the next 24 hours to complete COVID-19 testing so he can join his new team next Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Schefter adds. The Ravens have a bye in the upcoming Week 7.
Ngakoue has been a target of general manager Eric DeCosta for a while now, as Baltimore attempted to acquire him multiple times in recent months. The defender grew up in Bowie, Maryland and went to Maryland college before the Jaguars made him their third-round pick in 2016.
“We are excited to add Yannick Ngakoue to our football team,” DeCosta said, according to Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan. “Yannick is someone who we are very familiar with going back to the draft process years ago. He is an exciting player and a dangerous pass-rusher who makes us better.”
Pass-rush depth was viewed as a major need for the Ravens despite ranking second league-wide with 22 sacks. Ngakoue should start opposite Matt Judon at outside linebacker, with Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser, and Jaylon Ferguson in the rotation.
The 25-year-old notched five sacks across six games with the Vikings. He’s accumulated at least eight quarterback takedowns every year since entering the NFL.
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