Caps brace themselves for life without hockey

Caps brace themselves for life without hockey
September 14, 2012, 1:53 pm
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Now what?Now that Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have proclaimedthey are at an impasse in negotiations for a new Collective BargainingAgreement, and with no talks scheduled between now and Saturdaysmidnight deadline, NHL players will need to start making preparations for lifewithout hockey.Yeah, weve got to get our ducks in a row here becauseweve always been thinking, Oh, something will happen, something will happen.Capitals veteran left wing Jason Chimera said.What will happen on Sunday is that the Capitals lockerroom at Kettler Capitals Iceplex will be locked. If the players who remain inthe area want to keep in skating shape, theyll need to rent ice at Kettler.
There may be some ice available here at KCI and someother rinks around town, Chimera said. I think during the day, with kids inschool, there should be ice available. The prices are more for ice here than in Edmonton, thats forsure. I saw some of the prices to rent ice for an hour and I was like Holy !We better solve this soon or guys are going to need an ice-time stipend orsomething from the PA players association.Worse yet, players would be forced to do their own laundryand stock up on some air fresheners.Yeah, well have to put stuff on the patio, Chimera said.I dont think my wife will like my gear hanging in the house too much.With the possibility of a lockout looming, players were encouragedlast season to save one of their paychecks. And with escrow checks expected tobe delivered in mid-October, most players will not feel the financial pinch of alockout until early November, when the checks stop entirely.Now 36 with a wife and two school-age children, Chimera saidhell remain in the area until a settlement is reached. But in 2004, he remembersholding out the same hope for labor peace and endured an entire season withoutan NHL paycheck.I just kind of hung around hoping for something tohappen, said Chimera, who was a 25-year-old member of the Edmonton Oilers duringthe last lockout Some guys did three-on-three leagues for a bit, justtouring around, but eventually I went to Italy. One of my agents bestfriends was coaching a team, so I went there and played for a couple of months.It was a different experience, thats for sure.Back then, Chimera was dating his future wife and the twoapproached the trip to Italyas an adventure.We just kind of packed up and moved, he said. It wasjust the two of us so it was easy and it was neat to see different stops, but Iremember the feeling last time when the season got cancelled, I think it wasprobably one of the worst days.While the players and owners brought entirely differentproposals to the table in meetings this week in New York, few around the league believe thedifferences between the two side are great enough for them to surrender 3.3billion in annual revenue.Guys lifetimes in the NHL, the span during which theyplay, is pretty small, Chimera said. I think its five years, average, so ifyou lose two of those five years, its pretty drastic. It would be a shame tolose any time, thats for sure.And not just for the players. Chimera joked that a lockoutcould put some strain on a few hockey marriages, as well, saying his wife isalready pushing him out of the house after a summer of together time.She wants me to go on a road trip, seriously, hesaid. She wants to get rid of me. So its a weird feeling when this stuffhappens. Hopefully, something will get done.