Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/08/13 at 10:16 AM ET
from Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times,
He could always score and, for a long time, that was all the world saw in him. From the time Barry Melrose was as wrong about Stamkos as any coach has ever been about a player, he has been an offensive force. He was a better skater than most realized, and he had great hands, and he had terrific vision. It was as if the puck turned into a grenade whenever it touched Stamkos' stick, and the explosion always happened in the back of the net.
The newest version of Stamkos has been improved, however. These days, he is a more complete player. He can still score (13 goals in 15 games), but at the ripe old age of 23, Stamkos has become a wiser player, more mature....
Wouldn't you expect this? Great players in their early 20s tend to get better. They figure things out as they go, and the parts of hockey that didn't seem as important suddenly matter a great deal. They grow into their bodies, and they grow into their sport. They get it.
And so it is that Stamkos has spent this year challenging his own reputation. Yes, he is still the scorer from the highlights. These days, however, he is more. Honestly.
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