Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron has a message for hockey fans.
“Thanks for holding on, and sorry for the hurt,” Bergeron said. “We will try to make it up to you guys.”
It was a message heard all around the Lightning locker room as players slowly start to head back to town with anticipation of training camps possibly opening as soon as this weekend. On Monday, it was as close to business as usual as we have seen in the past 113 days, as 13 players took to the ice at the Brandon Ice Sports Forum.
“It’s a tough situation for everybody,” Lightning Captain Vincent Lecavalier said. “Everybody loses in this, the fans, the players, the owners. It’s also a process that you hope will take a week, but obviously it didn’t. It took a lot longer. It’s still a process that obviously extended a lot longer than we wanted. I know people in Tampa, just from yesterday, are excited about the upcoming season and about the team, so we are excited about that.”
Still, the Lightning and the NHL will have a long way to go in winning back fans that are not happy about what transpired over the past three months. It is going to take time for some fans to get past this, and that point has not been lost.
“We truly understand how hard it is,” Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon said. “I think we went through the same process too. We have great fans, we have the best fans. People are probably still sour about it, but I know they are going to come back and they are going to be behind us.”
And what about those fans that may not come back right away? It’s understandable if some need some time to put the lockout in the past, according to forward Teddy Purcell.
“The fans that are not going to come back, it’s understandable.” Purcell said. “They went through a lot of lockouts in the past ten years. The fans that stuck with us, just how much we appreciate them sticking by us and being patient. When we come back, obviously we will be working hard ourselves and the team to accomplish something, but more importantly we are going to be doing it for the fans and showing our appreciation to them.
Adam Hall Learns From The Business Side Of Hockey
Tampa Bay Lightning forward Adam Hall learned a whole new side to the game over the past three months, serving as the Lightning’s player representative for the NHLPA.
“This process is tough for everyone,” Hall said. “Hopefully this is just the conclusion to that and we can get back to the game that we all love.”
Still, Hall said he learned how frustrating the business side can be sometimes.
“You learn how frustrating the business side can be sometimes,” Hall said. “We grew up, since you are little kids, dreaming about playing hockey in front of thousands and thousands of fans for the Stanley Cup, and when you see this side of it. It’s keeping you from doing something like that, it really is kind of frustrating at times but we are just glad this process is hopefully coming to a conclusion and we are able to get back on the ice.”
Mathieu Garon Feeling Good As Camp Approaches
Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon said he felt good as he prepared for a shortened season.
“I feel good,” Garon said. “I have not stopped skating or working out since pretty much the end of the season last year. A week maybe of training camp and I will be ready to go.”
Garon said he does not expect the short season to really play a role in the how the goaltenders approach the game.
“I think it is the same for everybody,” Garon said. “It’s just a matter of getting into game shape as quick as you can and working hard at it.”