Locked out players return to Kettler

Locked out players return to Kettler
September 17, 2012, 4:39 pm
Share This Post

There is no padlock and chain hanging from the doors thatlead to the Capitals locker room at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. But in case you were wondering, yes, those doors are lockedand will remain that way until there is a new Collective Bargaining Agreementbetween the NHLs owners and players.On a day Capitals rookies were scheduled to be on the icefor the start of a weeklong training camp, about a dozen players took the iceat Kettler on Monday at their own expense.After renting a sheet of ice at the public rate of 360 anhour, Capitals players dressed in locker rooms usually reserved for youth andadult leagues. They skated for about an hour without goalies, got dressed, signeda few autographs and loaded their bags of equipment and sticks into their cars beforedriving off and paying their daily parking fee.Welcome to life in the locked out NHL.Its certainly different, Capitals forward MarcusJohansson said as he and teammate Mattias Sjogren loaded their equipment intoJohanssons black SUV. Were used to having everything here and now we dont. But I think everyone knows what theyre doing. Well justkeep going like this until we know what happens.Johansson said hell remain in his apartment for theremainder of this week, then decide on whether he will go back to Sweden. He saidthe Swedish Elite League is still insisting that NHL players sign year-longcontracts but that the second tier league in Sweden is willing to sign game-by-gamecontracts that allow players to return to the NHL in the event of a settlement.Right now Im not going to play anywhere else, Johanssonsaid. Ill see what happens, take it day-by-day and figure it out. Its notsomething you like. Thats the way it is and well go with it.Sjogren, who has one year remaining on his contract with theCaps, said hell skate at Kettler for the remainder of the week, then report toHershey, where several Bears have begun skating in preparation for their Sept.30 start of training camp. Goaltender Sergey Kostenko said he plans on doingthe same.Johansson said that as much as hed like to be preparing forhis third season in the NHL, the players union is willing to wait as long asnecessary to have what they believe is a fair agreement.Everybody loves the game, Johansson said. You want toplay hockey, but were not just going to start playing because we have to. As unionchief Don Fehr says, we have to find a good agreement to play under and if wedont were not going to play.