Ladies and gentlemen, start your blogs.
That’s what Steven Stamkos did on Thursday, popping three goals in Tamp Bay’s insane 8-7 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers to match his number of games (19) with goals scored.
No one knows what total Stamkos will reach in his third NHL season. In the giddy aftermath of his hattie, the twittersphere was hopping with predictions from 60 to 80 for the Splendid Stammer. I don’t know either, except that I (along with hundreds of others) picked him to win the Rocket Richard Trophy for goals scored.
Stamkos had 51 last season, to share the Rocket with Sidney Crosby, but the kid (he’s 22) is more of a pure scorer than Sid, and he could own this trophy for a while.
Me? I don’t know where he’ll finish either, though I suspect it will be north of 60, and I’m confident Wayne Gretzky‘s record of 92 goals in a season is safe.
I just want to watch it happen. Stamkos has been coming for a while. He deserves to be in the same conversation as Crosby and Ovechkin, not yet as dominant, but close.
And the good news? He’s as nice and decent a person off the ice as he is on it.
I feel privileged to have been able to cover Stamkos at the 2009 world hockey championships in Switzerland, where he was a revelation. Canada’s best forward, and an obvious star in the making.
He should have been on Canada’s Olympic roster for Vancouver, but I get Steve Yzerman‘s decision not to rush Stamkos. He’ll have lots of Olympics and World Cups in his future.
Probably a Stanley Cup, too.