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Informal workouts by Tampa Bay Lightning players have begun at Ice Sports Forum in Brandon

Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images

"Is it October yet?" is the most common phrase tossed around during the off season by fans. The bad news is that most of the time, the answer is "no".  The good news is,w e've reached the next-best thing to the month of October: September.  September brings the end of hockey hibernation by the Tampa Bay Lightning franchise with new evidence of its awakening every day.

Case in point, the Brandon Ice Sports Forum now hosts players working on their own to get ready for the upcoming NHL season.

Braydon Coburn, Andrej Sustr, J.T. Brown, and Valtter Filppula are in town, Soon, my friends.... You'll have the rest of them and the game we love once again soon...  For the meantime, we wait patiently.

There's no precise scheduel that I know of for informal skates but I would think mid-morning (10 AM) for those interested in stopping by