Monthly Archives: September 2012

Kronwall feels looming lockout was not a cause for Lidstrom retiring

TROY — Niklas Kronwall doesn’t feel the impending lockout this season didn’t have anything to do with Nicklas Lidstrom deciding to retire this offseason.

“I think he would have made the same decision regardless,” Kronwall said. “Nick is one of those guys when he does something he does it full out. He decided it was time for him. I don’t think it had anything to do with a possible lockout.

Wings’ feel informal skates will begin to get old soon

TROY – The question most NHL players are asking at this point of the season is, ‘How many more preseason games do we have before the season starts.’

This year, preseason games would be quite delightful for those players.

“I think we all miss being out there playing against other teams,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said after wrapping up another week of practice with teammates at Troy Sports Center. “Right now we’d already have a couple of games under our belt.

“Preseason is always key for a goaltender because it got you out there getting your feet wet for the first time in a while,” Howard added. “You’re seeing a lot of traffic and finding the puck. Right now, there really isn’t a lot of that, just free-flowing drills and guys just having fun.”

The Wings, who were scheduled to report to training camp in Traverse City on Sept. 21, are supposed to open the regular season at home against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 12.

The NHL season opens on Oct. 11.

The league cancelled the remainder of this year’s preseason games on Thursday.

“Some of the guys have been skating now for six weeks,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “At some point you play the game because you love to play the game, not practice the game. I’m sure if it gets to that point you’ll have to make a decision if you want to go play somewhere else.”

The Wings have been skating on their own since being locked out by owners at midnight on Sept. 16.

“We’ve done a good job the first week of keeping it light out there and interesting,” Howard said. “Even though we’re playing these small area games there are incentive on them with the losing team skating and things like that. It just keeps the competiveness flowing.

“Talk to me in two weeks and I’ll probably be singing a different tune,” added Howard when asked if skating by themselves will start to get old.

Howard won’t make a decision about playing overseas until the end of October at the earliest. He wants to be in town for his son’s birthday and be there for when he takes his first steps.

The number of players attending the informal practices changes by the day.

“Before we had some other NHLers and Grand Rapids guys,” Henrik Zetterberg said on Friday. “This is probably the guys we’ll have, some of the guys are coming in next week, I think (Jordin) Tootoo and (Darren) Helm. We just got to try to do the best we can. I don’t think we’ll skate every day, probably 3-4 days a week and then do the normal off-ice workouts.”

Danny Cleary is skipping the informal skates and heading to Vail, Colorado to workout with a trainer along with a number of other NHL players.

“It’s little more intensity camp,” Cleary said. “It’s getting a little bit boring.

“I miss (the game) so much,” Cleary added. “It’s a really weird feeling right now, not having that routine of going to the rink every day, seeing the guys, getting into a routine. We’re so much creatures of habit, us athletes, especially hockey players. I miss getting up early, having a routine, going to the rink, seeing the guys, getting dressed, the competitiveness on the ice, skating, getting a good workout in, getting ready for the season. To be honest, it hurts.”

The NHL and the players’ association met on Friday and will continue meet through Sunday, working on non-core economic issues.

“I think just the fact that they’re back talking to each other, hopefully that will spring some life back into these discussions,” Kronwall said. “If you can have some good discussions about that it could lead to some good discussions around the core-economic stuff as well. It’s a good start and hopefully we’ll have some good news (soon).”

“Anytime you’re talking, anytime you’re in the same room it’s good,” Cleary said. “I’m really hoping these talks lead to something else. One day leads to two, leads to three and the next thing you know, ‘Hey, let’s meet tomorrow.’”

Extended lockout not good for Bertuzzi

TROY – Todd Bertuzzi has been through this before.

However, the last time the NHL locked its players out Bertuzzi was in his late 20s. This time around, the Wings forward is 37.

“It’s not ideal,” said Bertuzzi, who will turn 38 in February. “I hear some people say sometimes it benefits the older players. I don’t think it really does. I think you’ve got to be consistently playing, being active.”

Bertuzzi was back in Troy with a few of his teammates skating at Troy Sports Center as they continue to wait word on a new collective bargaining agreement.

“You usually train for two and a half months in the summer and then after that you just maintain and do a little bit more,” Bertuzzi said. “Going on three months right now with training, it gets kind of Groundhog Dayish.”

The players have skating on their own since the league locked them out at midnight on Sept. 16. Both sides are scheduled to meet on Friday.

This is the third lockout under NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

The first, in 1994-95, ended after 103 days. The last time the league locked the players out it resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.

Bertuzzi was with the Vancouver Canucks that last lockout, coming off a 60-point season the year before. He returned after the lockout and had 71 points in 82 games.

“It’s been how many days already? I’m dragging my ass here right now,” Bertuzzi said. “We’ve got a good group of guys, we keep it light, we get the work done that we need, but at the same time it’s always tough when you don’t know what the unknown is, what lies ahead. You’ve got to try to keep yourself busy. I’m trying to occupy my time with doing stuff with my family and doing stuff like that.”

The league has already cancelled preseason games through the end of September and the remainder of the preseason should be cancelled this week.

The Wings, who were scheduled to report to training camp in Traverse City on Sept. 21, are supposed to open the regular season at home against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 12.

The NHL season opens on Oct. 11.

“I think we’re all pretty much prepared for that,” said Bertuzzi when asked about the season not starting on time. “It’s tough. I feel bad for the employees that work, I feel bad for people that run the rink, the fans, it’s not an ideal situation, especially for us in Detroit, we’re trying to get our city back up and moving and I don’t think it’s doing it any justice.

“The fact we have the Winter Classic coming in, Comerica Park was going to be packed for a week,” Bertuzzi added. “That was just an instant injection into our city. I’d hate to see that go by without anything happening.”

There has been talk the league may cancel the Winter Classic, which is scheduled to be held on New Year’s Day at the University of Michigan, as early as November if a new deal can’t be reached.

“That’s one thing I’ve always wanted to play in,” Bertuzzi said. “To me, that would be something pretty tough to miss. At the same time, both sides will miss out so we’ve got to figure this out once and for all and the right way.

“That week in downtown Detroit, that’s a lot of people coming from Canada, coming from all over the states, spending a full week in downtown Detroit,” Bertuzzi continued. “It’s going to be an unbelievable atmosphere. You’ve got the Junior games, my kid’s games, you’ve got the AHL games, alumni games, there’s a lot at stake with this game. It would be real unfortunate if it went by and you had to wait a whole year for it to maybe come back again.”

NHL cancels rest of preseason

In a move that was expected, the NHL has cancelled the remainder of the preseason schedule.

The Wings, who were scheduled to report to training camp in Traverse City on Sept. 21, are supposed to open the regular season at home against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 12.

The NHL season opens on Oct. 11.

Here is the press release from the NHL:

NEW YORK (September 27, 2012) – The National Hockey League announced today the cancellation of the remainder of the 2012 preseason schedule.

The cancellation of the preseason schedule was necessary because of the absence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NHL Players’
Association and the NHL.

NHL and players’ union will meet Friday

The NHL and the players’ union will be back at the bargaining table on Friday.

Both sides have not met formally in over a week.

“I think everyone was optimistic and hoping for something,” Wings forward Drew Miller said Monday. “Right now you’re hoping something gets done and that we don’t lose a whole season if they’re going to battle that hard. Realistically it would be nice to get it done tomorrow, but I know that’s not going to happen so we just have to be patient and count on our leadership to take care of it.”

Sources tell ESPN.com’s Pierre LeBrun that talks will begin with discussions of non-economic issues.

The league locked the players are at midnight on Sept. 16

This is the third lockout under NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

The first, in 1994-95, ended after 103 days. The last time the league locked the players out it resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.

Players are concerned owners haven’t addressed the league’s financial problems. And after making huge concessions to reach a deal in 2005, the players don’t feel like it should be on their shoulders again to give in to reach another CBA.

In 2005, players took an immediate 24 percent rollback on existing contracts. In return they got 57 percent of hockey-related revenues.

The owners want to reduce the player’s percentage of hockey-related revenues to less than 50 percent.

The union offered a deal based on actual dollars, seeking a guarantee of the $1.8 billion players received last season.

The league has already cancelled preseason games through the end of September.

Also in jeopardy would be the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at the University of Michigan and the All-Star game in Columbus.

Jimmy Howard: “I can tell you one thing, if the season is cancelled it won’t be by the players.”

TROY – The NHL has only cancelled preseason games through September, but Danny Cleary is sure more will come, which includes the start of the regular season and perhaps the loss of an entire year.

“I don’t think anyone will really start getting concerned until Oct. 11,” Cleary said after skating with a few of his teammates Monday at Troy Sports Center. “It’s not going to start on time, no way.”

The league is expected to cancel the remainder of the preseason this week.

The Wings, who were scheduled to report to training camp in Traverse City on Sept. 21, are supposed to open the regular season at home against the Nashville Predators on Oct. 11.

“People don’t think it can go a year, but us players think it can and maybe longer,” Cleary said. “I don’t think it’s gotten uglier, we’re just being realistic. I think the league is waiting for us to make a move and we’re waiting for them to move. Someone has to move and I don’t see it coming from our end.

“We’ve given them a couple of good options to work with and they obviously don’t feel it’s good enough for them,” Cleary added. “We’re just at a stalemate I guess. We’re stuck in the middle right now.”

The league locked the players out at midnight on Sept. 16

This is the third lockout under NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

The first, in 1994-95, ended after 103 days. The last time the league locked the players out it resulted in the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.

“I don’t even know what to think,” Cleary said. “My best way of going about it experience-wise is not even worrying about when it’s going to start, but just to sit around waiting for someone to call me and tell me when it’s going to start. The more you read and the more you listen, so many people have different opinions it can become frustrating.”

The NHL and the Players’ Association held informal discussions in Toronto on Monday.

Alex Ovechkin told Russia’s Sovietsky Sport that the players aren’t ‘going to cave in.’

“I will spend the entire season in the KHL,” he said. “It’s an absolute reality.”

Ovechkin went as far to tell Russia’s Sport-Express, “If our salaries get slashed, I’ll have to think about whether to return to (the) NHL.”
Cleary can see that happening.

“I don’t know if what Ovechkin was saying is a threat, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some do,” Cleary said. “If they don’t honor the contracts now and want another rollback, every guy that has a long-term contract is the best player, an All Star, if they want to take 17 or 18 percent off the top of like $50 to $100 million dollars these guys aren’t going to be very happy.”

Players are concerned owners haven’t addressed the league’s financial problems. And after making huge concessions to reach a deal in 2005, the players don’t feel like it should be on their shoulders again to give in to reach another CBA.

In 2005, players took an immediate 24 percent rollback on existing contracts. In return they got 57 percent of hockey-related revenues.

“I can tell you one thing, if the season is cancelled it won’t be by the players,” Jimmy Howard said. “All of us want to play, but at this point it’s the owners locking us out.”

The owners want to reduce the player’s percentage of hockey-related revenues to less than 50 percent.

The union offered a deal based on actual dollars, seeking a guarantee of the $1.8 billion players received last season.

“It’s putting a little speed bump in the momentum of our sport,” Todd Bertuzzi said. “With the superstars we have and the age they’re at, you don’t want to see them miss a season. You want to continue to showcase and build our sport. At the same time you do have to hammer out the details and get something that’s done right that’s long term, so we’re not coming back at the same stage every four or five years.”

Also in jeopardy would be the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day at the University of Michigan and the All-Star game in Columbus.

“I guess everyone was kind of prepared for this,” Drew Miller said. “Personally I didn’t think it was going to be three or four days of a lockout and then you’re done. I think it’s going to be a little longer. We’re doing what we can now, just skating and trying to stay in shape. We’re making sure we stay informed and hoping for the best.

“I think everyone was optimistic and hoping for something,” Miller added. “Right now you’re hoping something gets done and that we don’t lose a whole season if they’re going to battle that hard. Realistically it would be nice to get it done tomorrow, but I know that’s not going to happen so we just have to be patient and count on our leadership to take care of it.

Danny Cleary: “People don’t think it can go a year, but us players think it can and maybe longer.”

TROY — A few quotes from Danny Cleary.

“I don’t think no one will really start getting concerned until Oct. 11. It’s not going to start on time. No way.

“People don’t think it can go a year, but us players think it can and maybe longer.

“I don’t think it’s gotten uglier, we’re just being realistic. I think the league is waiting for us to make a move and we’re waiting for them to move. Someone has to move and I don’t see it coming from our end. We’ve given them a couple of good options to work with and they obviously don’t feel it’s good enough for them. We’re just at a stalemate I guess. We’re stuck in the middle right now. I think there are some talks going on, but I really think they’re based on HR from last year and trying to figure out the definitions.

“I don’t even know what to think. My best way of going about it experience wise is not even worrying about when it’s going to start, but just to sit around waiting for someone to call me and tell me when it’s going to start. The more you read and the more you listen, so many people have different opinions it can become frustrating.”