Without labor peace, some Penguins look for work
By Josh Yohe
Published: Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, 3:18 p.m.
The deadline for a new NHL collective bargaining agreement arrived late Saturday.
Soon, some of the Penguins could be departing.
Team owners were poised to lock out their players at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, as league officials declined to meet with Players' Association representatives earlier in the day because, as deputy commissioner Bill Daly explained, “there was no point in convening a formal bargaining session in light of the fact that neither side is in a position to move off of its last proposal.”
How to split revenue is the key point of contention.
The lockout would be the third to hit a major sports league in 18 months, following ones in the NFL and the NBA.
With a lengthy lockout possible, many players said they would look for employment overseas or in the AHL.
Playing in the NHL remains ideal but not necessarily realistic in the short term.
“Obviously it's not looking real good right now,” Penguins center Brandon Sutter said. “Guys will have decisions to make.”
The NHL season is scheduled to begin Oct. 11. The Penguins are slated to open their season at home Oct. 12 against the New York Islanders. Training camp is supposed to open Friday, but that likely won't happen.
“Not a real good vibe right now,” defenseman Matt Niskanen said.
One of the highest-profile Penguins already has decided to play elsewhere.
Evgeni Malkin, the reigning Hart Trophy winner, will play for Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL. The two-time NHL scoring champion will play with former Penguins teammate Sergei Gonchar in Russia.
Captain Sidney Crosby acknowledged that playing in Europe remains a possibility but said rumors that he already has spoken with a Swedish team are untrue.
“We'll wait and see,” Crosby said.
Defenseman Deryk Engelland is another member of the Penguins who might look for work elsewhere. He has established himself as a solid defenseman during the past two seasons and would rather play than sit.
“I want to build off what I've accomplished the last two years,” he said. “It's a bit of a setback here, but I want to play hockey no matter what.”
Eric Tangradi said he likely will play for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton if a lockout persists. Tangradi would be forced to negotiate a new deal with Penguins' minor league affiliate to play there, but he said he prefers to play within the confines of the Penguins' system than go overseas.
Other young players will play in the AHL, too, including Gibsonia native Brandon Saad, who told the Tribune-Review he will play for Rockford, the Chicago Blackhawks' AHL affiliate.
Some players are clinging to optimism.
“I haven't considered playing anywhere else,” Sutter said. “I'm hoping we won't be locked out for too long. Plus, I already moved once this summer.”
For now, the Penguins will continue what they started two weeks ago.
Most of the players, including Crosby, have been skating daily at the team's practice facility at Southpointe. They will continue to skate at Southpointe and perhaps other local rinks to stay in shape.
“We have got to be ready,” Engelland said, “because this could be over in a day, a week, a month. You just don't know.”
Note: The Penguins designated the following players for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this weekend: Forwards Beau Bennett, Brian Gibbons, Tom Kuhnhackl, Jayson Megna, Adam Payerl, Zach Sill, Paul Thompson, Dominik Uher, Keven Veilleux, Philippe Dupuis, Benn Ferriero, Riley Holzapfel, Warren Peters and Trevor Smith; defensemen Simon Despres, Joe Morrow, Brian Dumoulin, Reid McNeill, Philip Samuelsson, Carl Sneep, Alex Grant and Dylan Reese; and goaltender Patrick Killeen.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-664-9161 Ext. 1975.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins center Sutter is thriving despite unsettled 3rd line
- Penguins’ Neal apologizes, vows to be better
- Penguins notebook: Scuderi could practice within a week