Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning preparing for possibility of NHL lockout

BRANDON — All seemed as it should be Tuesday at the Ice Sports Forum.

Lightning players, who have assembled for informal workouts before training camp, conducted passing and shooting drills and played five-on-five while coach Guy Boucher watched intently from a balcony overlooking the ice.

"We're getting prepared," Boucher said, "for a normal camp."

Tampa Bay players are supposed to report Sept. 21. But with the NHL threatening a lockout Sunday if a new collective bargaining agreement is not in place, the question is when, or if, camp will begin.

And that has Boucher planning for the abnormal.

"You've got Plan B, Plan C and all of a sudden we're down to D and E," he said. "If it's not normal, at least everything has been done."

It's different for players, whose routines so far have not changed.

Tough summer off-ice workouts have morphed into hybrid plans that include 60- to 90-minute skates with teammates and, as right wing Adam Hall undertook, pushing a sled full of weights over a carpeted area overlooking the ice.

But underneath the sweaty jerseys and aching muscles, there is a sense of futility, star center Steven Stamkos said, as negotiations between the owners and Players' Association are stalled.

"It's definitely tough, especially when you don't make the playoffs," Stamkos said, referencing last season's failure. "You train for a long time and you're reading and hearing that there might be a lockout. You have to push through it and tell yourself it might start (on time) so you've got to go."

"It's been a weird summer in that sense," defenseman Matt Carle said, and added about the negotiations, "Just because we're all in shape and prepared for the season doesn't mean we'll give in. We want a fair deal for both sides."

This is an important week for the talks that have been unable to figure out how to divide $3.3 billion in league revenues.

Owners, whose latest proposal cut the players' share from 57 to 46 percent, will meet Thursday in New York for an update from commissioner Gary Bettman and to reiterate his ability to lock out the players.

Between 200 and 300 players — including Carle, Hall, center Nate Thompson, goaltender Mathieu Garon and defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron and Brian Lee from the Lightning — are expected in New York for union meetings today and Thursday. Before today's union meeting, players and owners scheduled a new negotiating session.

"Every player is getting ready like we're starting on time," said right wing B.J. Crombeen, a member of the union's negotiating committee. "That's still the goal and I think it's something that we can do."

Meanwhile, there are questions.

"Will we get any exhibition games? Will we not?" Boucher said. "How much practice time? How many guys will we bring in? It's a moving target. You have to keep reacting."

"Hopefully, we solve this situation," Bergeron said. "Let's solve it. Let's all be happy."

Call that Plan A.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

Lightning announce home opener: Oct. 6 vs. Panthers

The Tampa Bay Lightning will announce their full 2018-19 schedule on Thursday, but the league announced each home opener Wednesday, with Tampa Bay playing host to the Florida Panthers at Amalie Arena on Saturday, Oct. 6.The Lightning will know their ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

Mike Hoffman traded twice in wake of harassment, cyberbullying claims

The Ottawa Senators traded winger Mike Hoffman on Tuesday, hoping to solve an ugly off-ice issue involving star defenseman Erik Karlsson and his wife. The Senators sent Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, who then dealt him to the Florida Panthers. All t...
Published: 06/19/18
Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Salary-cap increase makes for ‘more fun’ NHL offseason

Thanks, Vegas. That’s what NHL general managers are saying this offseason after the Stanley Cup Final run of the expansion Golden Knights contributed to what’s expected to be a healthy increase for the salary cap. With elite center John Tavares, No. ...
Published: 06/19/18
Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz resigns as coach of Stanley Cup-winning Capitals

Barry Trotz abruptly stepped down as coach of the Washington Capitals on Monday after failing to agree to terms on a new contract, a stunning move that left the newly minted Stanley Cup champions without a coach with the draft later this week and wit...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

Lightning re-signs goaltender Eddie Pasquale to two-way deal

The Lightning re-signed goaltender Eddie Pasquale to a one-year, two-way contract general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.Pasquale, 27, split this past season between the Syracuse Crunch and Bakersfield Condors of the American Hockey League. He...
Published: 06/18/18
Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

Lightning opens seven-game preseason schedule at home Sept. 18

TAMPA — The Lightning will open its seven-game preseason schedule at home with a 7:30 p.m.  game Sept. 18 against the Carolina Hurricane, the team announced Thursday.That is one of three home games the Lightning will play in a preseason sc...
Published: 06/14/18
Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Lightning trades Peter Budaj to Kings, acquires forward Andy Andreoff

Sixteen months after acquiring Peter Budaj from the Kings, the Lightning today returned the veteran goaltender to Los Angeles.The Lightning traded Budaj for forward Andy Andreoff, general manager Steve Yzerman announced in a news release.Andreoff, 27...
Published: 06/13/18
Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

Lightning set as early favorite to win the Stanley Cup in 2018-19

This past season didn't end the way Lightning fans might have hoped, but that's no reason to lose hope.In fact, oddsmakers are more bullish on Tampa Bay than any team in the NHL for next season.According to at least one sports betting site, the ...
Published: 06/08/18
Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

Washington has a new hero. His name is Devante Smith-Pelly

LAS VEGAS — Before Devante Smith-Pelly could relax or breathe or even start thinking about his game-tying goal, he had to start moving his feet.The period of recall began midway through the third period Thursday night, when the Capitals trailed, 3-2....
Published: 06/08/18