Okay, kids. Here we go. We've got a hockey season on our hands after all. So you know what that means - we're going to need players to come back.
Not many of the Lightning players strayed far from Florida and opted to play during the lockout.: While defenseman Brian Lee has been in his native Minnesota and Steven Stamkos opted to return to Ontario for both training and beer league pickup games, others did wander to other professional teams around the world.
F Adam Hall had been playing for EV Ravensburg (2nd Bundesliga) but returned to North America late last month
D Victor Hedman has been playing for Astana Barys of the KHL.
G Anders Lindback had been playing for Ilves Tampere (SM-liiga. His contract expired with that club a few days ago.
D Brendan Mikkelson has been playing with Vasteras HK (Allsvenskan) in Sweden.
C Nate Thompson has been with his hometown team, the Alaska Aces of the ECHL.
C Dana Tyrell ventured to Europe to play for Banska Bystrica of the Slovak Extraliga.
After that, the rest have dispersed to their hometowns or stayed in Tampa.
Well, it's time to come back, boys. Time to lace up your skates, tape up those sticks, and put on your Lightning jersey once again. You may have to win back some fans, but that's the nature of the beast. All anyone can ask is that you do your best, both on and off the ice.
It looks like it'll may be around a 50-game season, so let's make it a good one.