Bare-chested and dripping with sweat after a brief morning skate, Syracuse Crunch left winger Cory Conacher stood at the edge of the rink and tested the feel of a new hockey stick.
''Are there illegal curves in this league,'' Conacher asked Friday with a devilish smile before retreating to the dressing room in the bowels of the Onondaga County War Memorial.
Indeed, the NHL lockout was an afterthought, at best, at that moment for Conacher, who is busy carving out a career in the American Hockey League. A player, just 22 years old, who fits those classic sports cliches right now - upside, potential, you name it - Conacher, like so many others in the league that they call the ''A,'' has no time to be concerned with the league that's not playing hockey these days.
All that matters, is he's playing somewhere.
And he's making the most of it.
''Everyone thinks about it, but right now there's no NHL and I don't even really worry about it,'' said Conacher, who had 39 goals and 80 points...