NEW YORK -- After coming within one win of the Stanley Cup Final last year, this summer turned out to be longer than expected for Martin St. Louis and the Tampa Bay Lightning -- the Bolts missed the playoffs for the fourth time in five years this past season. But with some offseason changes in Tampa Bay and teammate Steven Stamkos coming off a 60-goal season, the six-time all-star is looking forward to an opportunity to get back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
"Just been training, golfing, started skating a bit. Obviously taking care of the kids is a thing I do, too, during the summer," St. Louis told NHL.com Tuesday as he enjoyed a baseball game at Yankee Stadium with his family.
With his offseason training intensifying as the summer goes along, St. Louis also expressed excitement over the moves Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman made following a disappointing 2011-12 season that saw the Lightning finish eight points out of a playoff spot. After acquiring goaltender Anders Lindback from the Nashville Predators on June 15, the Lightning signed forward Benoit Pouliot and defensemen Sami Salo and Matt Carle, adding depth to the roster, especially on the blue line.
"I think we have done some great changes," St. Louis said. "Obviously time will tell what kind of changes they are. But I'm excited about what they've done."
Until that time comes, St. Louis is enjoying his offseason, which on Tuesday included a trip to the ballpark, with the tickets and field pass coming courtesy of Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes. With the Yankees' spring training facility located in Tampa, Hughes has become fast friends with a number of Lightning players, including St. Louis. The 26-year-old starter is a neighbor of Lightning forward Teddy Purcell and rented his Tampa apartment last season to center Nate Thompson.
The Hughes connection came in handy for Tampa Bay's star forward, who got a chance to enjoy a Yankees win against the Blue Jays along with his three sons.
"I live in Connecticut during the summer, so we're not too far away," said St. Louis, who attended the University of Vermont. "I always take the kids to come and check the game. It's nice that they're playing the Blue Jays, so the boys are excited."