Bad news for the Bolts. Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning suffered a significant loss when the team announced that captain Steven Stamkos will miss the next six to eight weeks to have surgery to repair a core muscle injury, which he is expected to have Monday, March 2. To make matters worse for the Lightning, even if the estimated injury time is on the short end (six weeks), Stamkos is still likely to miss some playoff time as the playoffs start in five weeks from today.

That’s a serious issue for a team that were swept out of the first-round of the playoffs last season by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Lightning have been up and down all season, on top of that, and while it looked like the team was heading in a positive direction recently - clearly establishing themselves as the Atlantic Divsion’s second-best team and looking to challenge the Boston Bruins for first place - the Lightning have now lost four straight.

The Athletic’s Joe Smith (subscription required) wrote Friday that there was some concern regarding Stamkos, who was held out of Thursday’s game due to a lower-body injury. He has missed three games earlier in the month and has skipped several practices and skates to heal his injury. Jon Cooper has already said that the team will have to go “game-to-game” with Stamkos until this announcement.

Stamkos’ loss is critical, not just because the 30-year-old’s a top-line player who currently has 29 goals this season, but because of his leadership in the locker room. On top of that, this has been an issue for the veteran for a while and yet, Stamkos has still been quite effective. Unfortunately, the team has to hope it can continue on its course and finish strong during the regular season as well as hope that it can win some playoff games without him until Stamkos is ready to return.

This article first appeared on Pro Hockey Rumors and was syndicated with permission.



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Can you name the captain of every team to make the Stanley Cup Final since 2000?

An asterisk (*) indicates team won the Cup that year. Due to a work stoppage, the 2004-05 NHL season was canceled.

SCORE:
0/37
TIME:
5:00
2019 / STL*
Alex Pietrangelo
2019 / BOS
Zdeno Chara
2018 / WAS*
Alex Ovechkin
2017 / PIT*
Sidney Crosby
2017 / NSH
Mike Fisher
2016 / PIT*
Sidney Crosby
2016 / SJ
Joe Pavelski
2015 / CHI*
Jonathan Toews
2015 / TB
Steven Stamkos
2014 / LA*
Dustin Brown
2014 / NYR
Ryan Callahan
2013 / CHI*
Jonathan Toews
2013 / BOS
Zdeno Chara
2012 / LA*
Dustin Brown
2012 / NJ
Zach Parise
2011 / BOS*
Zdeno Chara
2011 / VAN
Henrik Sedin
2010 / CHI*
Jonathan Toews
2010 / PHI
Mike Richards
2009 / PIT*
Sidney Crosby
2009 / DET
Nicklas Lidstrom
2008 / DET*
Nicklas Lidstrom
2008 / PIT
Sidney Crosby
2007 / ANA*
Scott Niedermayer
2007 / OTT
Daniel Alfredsson
2006 / CAR*
Rod Brind'Amour
2006 / EDM
Jason Smith
2004 / TB*
Dave Andreychuk
2004 / CAL
Jarome Iginla
2003 / NJ*
Scott Stevens
2003 / ANA
Paul Kariya
2002 / DET*
Steve Yzerman
2002 / CAR
Ron Francis
2001 / COL*
Joe Sakic
2001 / NJ
Scott Stevens
2000 / NJ*
Scott Stevens
2000 / DAL
Derian Hatcher

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