Steven Stamkos spotted on the ice just hours before Game 1.

A big surprise on Saturday morning.

Share on Facebook

There has been a Steven Stamkos sighting.

According to a breaking news report from Sportsnet NHL insider Chris Johnston, the Tampa Bay Lightning forward was spotted on the ice on Saturday. Stamkos was reportedly participating in practice ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, this in spite of the fact that Lightning head coach Jon Cooper has previously stated that Stamkos will not be playing in Game 1. It could very well be that Stamkos will not be ready to play tonight, but this has to be viewed as a major development for the Lightning nonetheless. 

Stamkos has been sidelined for the entirety of the playoffs thus far due to what officially remains an undisclosed injury but there has been talk that he was expected to return during the Final should the Lightning advance that far. This return to the ice would appear to indicate those rumors were true, although admittedly I have no way of gauging when that return might come in this series. 

Update: We now have video.

The Dallas Stars were not so fortunate with head coach Rick Bowness announcing that 3 of his players will remain on the sideline.

The Dallas Stars bench boss spoke to the media on Saturday and announced that 3 of his players, goaltender Ben Bishop, defenseman Stephen Johns and centerman Radek Faksa, had all been ruled "unfit to play" in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. All 3 men have been on the sidelines for some time now and you have to wonder if there's any chance at all that we might see any of them during the Stanley Cup Final at this point. Not only would they have to recover from the injuries that have kept them out of the lineup, but Bowness would also have to consider the kind of game shape they would be in after a long layoff. This would be the case under normal circumstances as well but in the context of the Stanley Cup Final it becomes an even more difficult decision to make.