Coach optimistic about Stamkos
Stamkos is on Canada's Olympic team and has been out since he was injured Nov. 11 at Boston and needed surgery.
Cooper said Thursday that if Stamkos can play for Tampa Bay before the Olympics "naturally he's going to be ready" for Sochi. The coach adds that he's certain Stamkos would not hold out to play in the Olympics, saying "he won't do that."
Stamkos had 14 goals and 23 points in 17 games before the injury.
Also, Tampa Bay goalie Ben Bishop has been placed on the injured list because of sprained right wrist. He is 22-5-3 with an 1.86 goals-against average this season.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press