It's been nearly eight months since Steven Stamkos scored his 60th goal on the final day of the 2011-12 regular season.
His Tampa Bay Lightning then missed the playoffs, and Stamkos has not played a competitive game ever since while waiting for a new collective bargaining agreement to be reached.
Now, with the NHL lockout set to stretch into December, the Rocket Richard Trophy winner is the latest superstar to consider heading to Europe to get into game action if a new deal doesn't materialize soon.
"I'd have to agree with Sid(ney Crosby) there," Stamkos told TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on ESPN.com. "That was the rationale early on when I sat down with [agents] Donnie [Meehan] and Mark [Guy]. 'Let's wait this out. Let's be optimistic that we get something done here and salvage some of the season. So let's stay in shape here, work out and stay informed and go from there.'
"But if the season is in jeopardy, you'd definitely have to look at getting at least one to two months' worth of competitive games in just so you have something to gauge heading into the summer," added Stamkos. "Obviously, we hope that's not the case -- we want to play in the NHL this year -- but if there is a threat of losing the whole year, I'm definitely going to be looking for a place to play."
Stamkos, who had 97 points to finish second in the league in scoring, has been training at Gary Roberts' academy in Toronto during the labour stoppage. He played in a charity game in Atlantic City last weekend to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy.
He's keeping in shape since a season would get started fairly quickly in the case of a new CBA being reached.
"That's what I'm planning on anyways," Stamkos told LeBrun. "I'm trying to at least tell myself that so that these workouts we're going through every day [are] going to be beneficial in the end," he said. "We've got a couple of weeks here where hopefully we get some good news and we get some sort of season underway. It's also been frustrating enough not only for the players but for the fans."
The lockout reached its 75th day on Thursday, with a total of 423 games having been lost so far off the original regular season schedule.