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The Lightning says it’s time to get answers from forward Steven Stamkos

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It has been the world’s longest negotiation, but things may be coming to a head between the Tampa Bay Lightning and center Steven Stamkos.

Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times he hopes to have some clarity on Stamkos by the weekend.

“We’re doing all we can to sign him,” Yzerman said. “What we look like if Stammer re-signs with us, it affects what we can do with our team. For us, we’d like to know sooner than later.

“At some point on other players, I have to make decisions. I’ve got to make decisions and they can’t be put off forever.”

Stamkos is free to start shopping around to other teams on Saturday. He can sign with them on July 1.

“To be honest with you, it’s out of my control,” Yzerman said. “He’s an unrestricted free agent on July 1. I can’t force him to sign a contract with us if he doesn’t want to. If he wants to go to July 1, he has that right.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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