It may sound a bit absurd, but one of the best ways for some NHLers to stay sharp during the lockout is to relax.
Don't think too much about hockey. Certainly don't think too much about the current lockout.
Maintain a personal, regimented workout routine and find time to hit the ice when possible but don't stress over finding a temporary team to latch onto.
Now this obviously isn't the desired route for all players. Youngsters like Schenn and Couturier need to continue to hone their skills. Europeans like Voracek and Bryzgalov can use this as an opportunity to play closer to home.
But for seasoned North American veterans like Danny Briere, Scott Hartnell, Max Talbot and Braydon Coburn, what's wrong with taking a few months to coordinate your own offseason schedule?
Sure, there might be some initial rust when the lockout comes to an end, but imagine how eager, hungry and motivated those players would be after several months of unorganized, uncompetitive hockey?
It's not as if players like Briere or Hartnell need to work on systems or defensive responsibilities during the lockout after 14 and 11 years respectively in the NHL.
Players like that will be ready when the time comes. Whenever that time is.
The 82-game NHL regular season is a grind and a deviation from that isn't the worst thing for many players.
It may sound a bit antithetical but allowing players to lose focus for a little while might just be the best way for them to stay sharp.