A veteran of eight NHL seasons, Lightning forward Ryan Malone is in the midst of his second lockout. A native of Upper St. Clair, the former Penguin spent part of last week practicing with some of his ex-teammates at Iceoplex in Southpointe and discussed the current work stoppage.
What's it like going through two lockouts in your career?
“It’s frustrating. With the last lockout, we felt we gave up a lot to make it work and we ended up having a whole season canceled. Revenue goes up and everything seems good and I guess it’s not good enough. It’s frustrating. You can only give so much. Hopefully they (the NHL) can give us an offer that is kind of fair. We’re not looking to take them to the bank or anything. We’re just trying took what’s right for everybody.”
After the last lockout, there were numerous changes on and off the ice to improve the game. Do you expect anything like that to happen after this lockout?
"No. ... That (lockout) kind of more changed the rules and everything. Now, there’s only so many things you can tweak on the game. Obviously there’s people always brainstorming about always making the game better. But I think for the most part, there shouldn’t be that much change after this lockout. If anything, hopefully we play half the games (this season), it will be pretty darn competitive for 40-something games."
Do you think there are differences among owners over this lockout?
"Definitely. ... Our owner (Jeffrey Vinik) has been top notch since he’s come in. I’d really like to hear what he’d have to say about the lockout and what decision (the NHL) makes. The whole thing is kind of so shady. Any of our players can speak out any time we want. Those guys, for a million dollar fine … It’s Gary’s (Bettman) world. We just got to live in it I guess."
You're 32 and you've dealt with injuries the past few seasons. Is there any benefit to this lockout with regards to your health?
"Yeah, I guess. Last year, obviously we didn’t make the playoffs so we’re ready to go. You train all summer for that. We already have the extra two months (of an offseason) compared to the (Kings) that ended up winning (the Stanley Cup). You train hard to prepare yourself at the beginning (of the season) and now you’re doing different things to keep yourself ready and stay sharp."
After a long run in the 2011 postseason, the Lightning took a step back last season and miss the playoffs? Why was that?
"I think we got off to a slow start and I think we kind of forgot how we got to where we were. I think we realized it’s just a lot of little details. Top to bottom, we had some injuries but they’re all excuses I think. Special teams have to do well. Some goaltending and special teams."
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