Stamkos scores 60th against Jets

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos celebrates his 60th goal of the season with teammate...

Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos celebrates his 60th goal of the season with teammate defenceman Brian Lee in the third period against the Winnipeg Jets during NHL hockey in Winnipeg Saturday, April 07, 2012. (QMI Agency/Brian Donogh)

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, Last Updated: 12:38 AM ET

Lightning superstar Steven Stamkos had the media in stitches after the morning skate when he took it upon himself to ask his own questions about his pursuit of 60 goals.

“Well Steven, are you gonna get to 60 goals tonight?” he queried, suggesting perhaps he has been asked these questions once or twice in recent days.

“Yeah, I’m going to try.”

He followed that up with another question and answer.

“Your team didn’t make the playoffs this year, how have you been able to handle the personal success without your team success?”

“Well, I want to make the playoffs. That’s it.”

Stamkos did score his 60th, burying a nice feed from Marty St. Louis at 3:29 of the third period to become the first NHL player since Alex Ovechkin in 2007-08 to reach the plateau.

Jets fans saluted Stamkos with a standing ovation.

“They’re knowledgeable fans and they know how hard it is to score 60 goals in this league,” said Slater. “Anyone who does that deserves an ovation. I don’t know how many other buildings would do it, but it was good to see our fans do it.”

Jets head coach Claude Noel also took time to congratulate Stamkos during his post-game media address.

Stuart appreciative

Mark Stuart was sincerely appreciative when the Winnipeg Jets announced he was the recipient of the Dan Snyder Memorial Award prior to the game. The award was established by the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2004, after Snyder died in a tragic car accident in the fall of 2003 and is given to a player who embodies perseverance, dedication and hard work without reward.

“It’s quite an honour, it’s very humbling,” said Stuart. “ I just try to work hard every night. It’s definitely an award I appreciate a lot. I knew his story, but when I got to Atlanta last year, I learned a lot more about him and had a chance to meet his brother (Jake) after our last game last year. What a great family. Everything you hear about (Dan) is positive. He was such a great guy, such a great teammate, that worked hard every night. He’s still sorely missed in the hockey community.”

Snyder’s father Graham was in attendance with Dan’s brother Jake to present the award and was honoured the Jets have decided to keep the tradition alive.

Current Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff was the GM of the Chicago Wolves when Snyder played there.

“Chevy was a big part of Dan’s career with the Chicago Wolves and we have some great memories from there. He told us how important it was to him and he had a close attachment to Dan. He told me that sometimes when he’s looking at hockey players, that he’ll compare them to Dan, saying ‘that guy has a little bit of Dan Snyder in him’ and that’s always great to hear.”

Snyder appeared in 49 games with the Thrashers and helped the Wolves win the Calder Cup in 2002. He would have turned 34 on Feb. 23.

Cash for foundation

Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier took time Saturday morning to meet with about 75 members of the Couchiching First Nation, many of them youth hockey players, who traveled four hours from Fort Frances, Ont. to make a donation to the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation.

The group raised about $2,000 in 24 hours and donated it to Lecavalier’s foundation, which helps fight pediatric cancer. They were invited by the Lightning to attend Saturday’s game day skate at MTS Centre and afterward they had an opportunity to meet and pose for pictures with Lecavalier.

“This is great,” Lecavalier said. “They are four hours from here and they are doing something great for the foundation and it’s from somewhere so far away from (Tampa Bay), so it’s really great to see. It’s great to see what kids do, how they get involved.”

Lecavalier said members of the first nation were inspired by the foundation’s recent Cut for a Cure fundraising event.


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