The captain has entered the room.
The gathering workout crowd at Ice Sports Forum now includes one Mister Steven Stamkos, the man of the moment with thanks to Elliotte Friedman's words to open the week and NHL Media Day on Tuesday and Stamkos' own remarks. Contract, contract, contract, there is no contract... yet.
So with his arrival in town, Stammer spoke to the press on a number of topics. Some worthwhile quotes are in the piece that ran this afternoon in the Tampa Bay Times, but there will e a bigger article in the paper tomorrow (or running online later today). The quote of value that everyone (read: anxious fans and wishful-thinkers in other markets) wants to hear about: The contract talks.
"We're in the middle stages of it with how long everything has gone so far. Obviously there's been discussions but those talks are going to stay between management and my staff at Newport Sports. It hasn't changed the way I approached this summer. I'm excited to be back here and see all the guys again today for the first time."
While the turn of phrase "silence is golden" works in many cases, silence leaves too much up for speculation and jumping-to-conclusions. Silence in business is how the Lightning has operated since Jeff Vinik purchased the team in 2010. This isn't a change or a deliberate attempt to make people antsy; it's a process that's in the middle stages.
Also in the quotes provided, Stamkos is excited for the season ahead, he doesn't want his team resting on its laurels and thinking everything will get back to where they were last season automatically...
[...] "(If we do), we're going to have a problem. we can't hang our head on the fact we made it to the finals last year, our focus has to be let's start off the year on time and make the playoffs. You see the parity in this league, it's unmatched in pro sports. The focus should be on learning from the experiences of last season and all the knowledge that we gained along the way and have a good year with the team."
Starting out well and going from there, that's a process too, a process of becoming. That process for the 2015-16 season is only in the fledgling stages of beginning.