Tampa Bay Lightning Players Hopeful But Preparing For Worst

The players union seems steadfastly united as 250-300 members are expected to meet in New York, today and tomorrow. Lightning players planning on attending are Adam HallNate Thompson, Mathieu Garon, BJ CrombeenBrian LeeMatt Carle and Marc-Andre Bergeron.

The NHL and the NHLPA have plans to meet this morning at 10:00 a.m. despite still remaining far apart. If the two sides don’t reach an agreement, the lockout will officially start at midnight on Sunday.

The Lightning players are preparing for a work stoppage. In that case, they will not be able to enter the Tampa Bay Times Forum or any other team facility.

Bolts beat reporter Damian Cristodera via the Tampa Bay Times:

“Most players said they will be sticking around the Tampa Bay area. Many said they will look into playing in Europe.

Wing Marty St. Louis said he is having “ongoing” talks with European teams. Center Steven Stamkos said his talks have been “preliminary.” Left wing Ryan Malone, right wing Teddy Purcell, defensemen Sami Salo and Victor Hedman and goaltender Anders Lindback also said they will look to play in Europe if the lockout drags on.

“You’re always optimistic, but at the same token, the players just aren’t going to roll over,” said Adam Hall, the team’s union representative. “The last deal, we gave a lot of concessions and it was meant to fix and address problems the owners claimed were broken in the system. So, this was, in effect, their deal, and seven years later after all these revenues they’re claiming the system is broken again because their plan that they claimed to work, didn’t work.

“It just seems like every time there’s a problem they come to the union and ask players to give concessions,” Hall added.”

Veteran Vincent Lecavalier, who played in Russia during the 2004-05 lockout, is on record as saying he will fly to his Montreal home on Friday and wait and see what happens before discussing playing in Europe.

If the lockout becomes reality, Lightning players JT BrownRadko GudasDustin TokarskiMark BarberioAlex KillornRiku Helenius and Cory Conacher will be assigned to the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate on Saturday night.

Players that need to clear waivers will almost certainly be signed to AHL deals. Those players are Mike AngelidisJT WymanKeith AulieMatt TaorminaPierre-Cedric Labrie and Evan Oberg.

Players are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

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