Quick note: For the sake of clarity and fluency, I’ve omitted the phrases “you know ” and “um.”
Stamkos: ...[People] that I know here, who get a chance to - not see me play very often throughout the season. It’s always fun. We had a couple days off, saw a lot of friends and family. People are entitled to do whatever they want. I made the decision to stay with the team that drafted me and brought me up as an 18 year old kid. It’s my second home now. Like I said, there’s no regrets. I’m looking forward to hopefully winning another hockey game here, on our road trip.
Question: I’m sure it was something that weighed on your mind throughout last year, but does it make this trip in particular a little easier when you know you don’t have to deal with questions about it?
Stamkos: Well, I’m answering questions about it right now. [smiles]
Question: But this will be the last one.
Stamkos: [laughs] I doubt it. I doubt it. But no, I get what you’re saying. It’s just - I touched on it before - this year, obviously having gotten the contract done, there’s no distractions. You’re coming to the rink with a clear mind, and that’s something as an athlete that sometimes you take for granted. Just being able to come to the rink and have fun and enjoy what you’re doing and work hard and help your team in any way you can. Last year was tough in that regard, but it’s something that you go through in life, just like any big decision that you’re gonna have to make. There’s gonna be stressful times. There’s gonna be time to reflect. But when you make that decision, as long as you can live with it you’ll be happy, and I’m definitely happy.