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Sergachev has successful surgery, vows to come back 'stronger'

Mikhail Sergachev Tampa Bay Lightning Mikhail Sergachev - The Canadian Press

Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Mikhail Sergachev has successful surgery to stabilize fractures to both the tibia and fibula in his left leg, the team announced on Thursday. 

The 25-year-old returned to the lineup against the New York Rangers for the first time in over a month on Thursday after missing 17 games with a lower-body injury. 

Halfway through the second period, Sergachev suffered an apparent left leg injury following a reverse hit from Rangers forward Alexis Lafreniere. Sergachev's leg bent awkwardly, and he needed a stretcher to get off the ice. 

Sergachev took to social media on Thursday morning with an emotional post on Instagram. 

"Oh man, why me? Why now? After all the games missed, coming back and getting injured again, feels unfair, feels terrible. Trying to stay calm and positive, but's it's impossible. After doing everything right I get this," Sergachev wrote in the post. "The universe is unpredictable I guess, and has its own plan, but f**k the universe man. I know I'll come back stronger and I know I'll play better than before, but it's tough right now, and it's gonna be tough tomorrow.

"We all fight our own battles and this is mine. I'll win, always do. Pain meds are good tho, if I was in the forest by myself I'd be dead, crazy innit?! Wanted to write how I feel here, don't know why, but just wanted to let people that care about me know! I appreciate all of your messages. Thanks to the medial staff." 

The Lightning have additionally announced that he will return to Tampa Bay to begin rehabilitation, and that a timetable for a return to action has not yet been established. 

“In the end, you’ve got your family, your biological family, but these are the people you spend pretty much your whole life with,'' Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. “He’s a really tough kid. Emotions were coming out. It was clear the Rangers cared for him. They all cleared the bench. It’s more than hockey."

The native of Russia has two goals and 17 assists over 34 games with the Lightning in 2023-24, his seventh year with the franchise. 

Sergachev, who is in the first year of an eight-year, $68 million contract, was originally selected ninth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 draft. He was traded to the Lightning the summer after his rookie season. 

Sergachev helped Tampa Bay win back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021 and had a career season in 2022-23, recording 10 goals with 54 assists.