There seems to be no end in site for the NHL lockout, and for some players like Tampa Bay Lightning All-Star center Steven Stamkos the loss of hockey isn't just about the paycheck its about the loss of a livelihood too (via Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times).
"I guess it's the old saying, you don't realize what you have until you lose it," Stamkos said. "For me, my whole life has been hockey, and now you don't have that. It's tough."
According to Cristodero's report, Stamkos, 22, has been trying to stay in shape by putting in extra work in the gym and training room with former Lightning player Gary Roberts. In-game situations are simulated through pickup games at the local rink.
However, the extra training and skating can only be a stopgap for a top-tier player like Stamkos for so long. Eventually, the 60-goal scorer will need to decided if playing in Europe is an option.
"For now," Stamkos said, "I'm planning that there will be some sort of a season."
Already, the NHL has canceled a large chunk of games including the 2012 Winter Classic. Those cancellations could hurt the progression of Stamkos' development, however, Lightning head coach Guy Boucher isn't worried about that.
"He's picked up all the tools to be able to be a consistent two-way winner," Boucher said. "He wants to take another step this year."
"He's one of the fastest skaters in the league and wants to be faster," Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier said. "That tells you how hard he works."
According to the Lightning's official website, their first regular-season game is scheduled for Dec. 1 against the Winnipeg Jets.