Thursday, October 18, 2012

Lockout update 10/18

The Adirondack Phantoms spent Thursday morning practicing in St. John's, Newfoundland.

But the collective eyes of the hockey world are fixed on Toronto, as the National Hockey League and its players' association will talks that could salvage an 82-game regular season. The meeting is set to take place at the National Hockey League Players' Association office.

By now, you've read the headlines. The National Hockey Leagues' current proposal, highlighted by a proposed 50-50 share of hockey related revenue, would allow for an 82-game regular season to begin commencing Nov. 2. Games that have been cancelled would be rescheduled and played in-season.

In order for that to happen, NHL officials told the Associated Press, the deal has to be completed by Oct. 25. That would allow teams to have a week's worth of "training camp" -- if you can call it that -- under their belts by the time the regular season rolled around on Nov. 2.

That might be a reach, as Oct. 25 is only a week from today. And NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr has already said the NHL's six-year proposal could cost his players as much as $1.6 billion. From someone outside the negotiation room, it seems they still have a lot to work out.

I haven't had the chance to ask any of the Phantoms what they make about all of this since the NHL's initial offer broke after practice wrapped up Tuesday. They spent yesterday traveling and they're out in Atlantic Canada through the weekend preparing for two games with the St. John's IceCaps.

Harrisburg Patriot-News reporter Tim Leone caught up with locked-out Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and coach Adam Oates at yesterday's Hershey Bears practice and asked them about it.

Holtby, like Adirondack's Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn, would be in the National Hockey League now if not for this lockout. Oates, hired during off-season to coach the Capitals, is getting his feet wet by co-coaching the Bears with Mark French.

The main thing to take away from their comments, I think, is there's now a sense of optimism that National Hockey League hockey could be on the horizon. First time since the lockout began, I think. We'll have to see if that same optimism exists following today's meetings.

By the way, story in tomorrow's paper about Andrew Johnston. He's rookie who cracked the Phantoms' line-up after spending last season in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, which is considered a step below major juniors. You don't see that jump often. He had actually committed to play at Union in Schenectady, but backed out after the Flyers offered him an NHL deal.

Until next time,


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