After a months-long lockout, and with the NHL owners set to vote on the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday, players are starting to work on getting ready for a season that could start as soon as Jan. 19.
Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, the NHL's reigning scoring leader, is certainly glad to see the lockout in their rear-view mirror.
"I tried to make the best of it," the 22-year-old said Tuesday after an informal practice with his Lightning teammates at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum. "And here we are today, and I'm very excited to be back."
Stamkos scored a league-high 60 goals in the 2011-12 season, but he knows those kind of numbers won't be reachable in the upcoming shortened season. Instead, the center is focusing on team-oriented goals.
"Well, get into the playoffs," he said of what the Lightning are aiming for. "I think that's the big key. And that's our goal here, as an organization, is get back in the playoffs. You just gotta get in, and things ...