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“I probably didn’t think that far ahead, but that would be one of the issues,” Thornton said. “I knew I’d get bored, and it [stinks] skating with nine or 10 guys.”

From two lockers over, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen chirped: “We’ve got three guys.” It’s not hard everywhere to find players to skate with, like in Calgary where Caps defenseman Karl Alzner is. Informal workouts, though, are a poor substitute for real games.

And this lockout life is a poor substitute for real routine. But players still find the motivation to work out because that’s what they’re programmed to do.

“Whether or not you’re getting paid right now, it’s still your job,” Brouwer said. “You’ve got to make sure that you’re in peak shape and make sure that you’re ready to go.”