Remembering the last lockout - 09-20-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Only eight members of the Penguins' current roster went through the last NHL lockout in 2004-05 as NHLers. The rest of the team was like the rest of us on the outside looking in.

Three younger members of the Penguins' roster talked earlier this week about that lockout and the advice they're getting from older teammates.

What are your memories of the 2004-05 lockout?

Joe Vitale (right), center - "I was in junior at the time at Sioux Falls. It was unfortunate. Obviously playing hockey, you like to keep an eye on the NHL and games. All whole year long, no one else was playing. It was just kind of us going. It was kind of difficult. To find myself here how many years later, It’s kind of strange."

Kris Letang, defense - "That was my draft year. Me and (Sidney Crosby) got drafted that year after the lockout. It was just a boring year for us. I was playing junior and I was trying to watch hockey. There wasn’t nothing to watch. It was pretty sad for the players who lived through it. I’m kind of living it right now. It’s tough to get motivation when you don’t know when it’s going to start."

James Neal, left wing - "I was too young to really know the significance of it. I was going into my draft year. I didn’t know much about it being 17 years old and playing junior hockey."

Have you been talking to older teammates such as Craig Adams, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis about the previous lockout?

Vitale - "For sure. They’re leaders on this team and leaders in this room. You try to pick apart their brains, their thinking and thoughts on things. You pretty much try to get educated about it. I went to New York (for NHLPA meetings) and it was a good experience. I learned a lot talking to the older guys."

Letang (right) - "Yeah, of course. I asked them a lot of questions. What they did. They all pretty much found a way to stay in shape. Some went to play in other countries. (Dupuis) went and played in Switerland. (Adams) went to Italy. (Cooke) didn’t play anywhere but he managed to stay in shape and managed to get ready for whenever it got started."

Neal - "We all talk to them. They talk to us and let us know what’s going on and kind of how to deal with it. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing and stay in shape. Let everything work itself out and be ready to play."

(Photos: Vitale-Harry How/Getty Images; Letang-Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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