Surreal workout for Pens as NHL lockout lingers
Many of the players and the venue were familiar. The rest, though, was surreal.
Former Penguins enforcer Jay Caufield took the place of Dan Bylsma, no team officials were present and, when practice was over, the 14 Penguins players on hand changed in the high school locker room at Southpointe. The Penguins locker room is considered team property, and the NHL lockout prohibits the players from using any team facilities.
“I'm not going to say it wasn't weird,” center Joe Vitale said. “It feels weird, very weird.”
Caufield, who helped get Mario Lemieux into game shape in the weeks before his return from retirement in 2000, is helping players on the team Lemieux owns stay in shape during a lockout that has an unknown expiration date.
“Right now, we're just doing our best to get ready,” captain Sidney Crosby said, “and keeping our fingers crossed that something works out.”
Caufield ran players through a number of drills. Practice concluded with a spirited 4-on-4 scrimmage.
In many ways, it was your ordinary NHL practice, minus the scrimmage.
But there's nothing ordinary about the situation.
“I almost parked in our usual parking spots,” Vitale said. “And now, we're walking in the back door. You just have to get used to it and make the most of the situation.”
Many of the Penguins players expressed varying levels of frustration about the lack of talks between the NHLPA and NHL the past few days.
That the league-imposed lockout date has come and gone, however, isn't too distressing.
“Sept. 15,” Crosby said. “Why Sept. 15 when camps are supposed to start on Sept. 21?”
Crosby paid close attention to the lack of progress over the weekend but wasn't insulted when NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly announced Saturday — only hours before the lockout time — that the league wasn't interested in speaking with the NHLPA during the weekend.
“That's negotiations,” Crosby said. “It's somewhat of a game sometime. I don't know what their reasoning was. Maybe there's a good reason why. We don't know. It's easy to read into every little thing like that. As a player, you can only wait until there is actual news.”
The waiting game will continue, perhaps for some time.
“When we get later in the month here,” Crosby admitted, “when you're getting to the time when the season starts ... Hopefully, our routine doesn't change. But it isn't looking great right now.”
Crosby and many of his teammates will continue skating this week and beyond.
“It's frustrating,” defenseman Kris Letang said. “I want to play hockey. But it needs to be done the right way. It needs to be beneficial for both sides.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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’ Crosby OK with Neal comments about trade
- Predators GM Poile: Penguins’ firing of Shero not fair
- Penguins rebound with shutout of Predators
- Penguins look to buck shots, goals trend
- Penguins notebook: Carcillo has no hard feelings after failing to make roster
- Predators winger Neal caught ‘blindsided’ by trade from Penguins
- Rossi: Fleury is, and will remain, Penguins’ soul
- Penguins notebook: Team pays tribute to Ottawa shooting victims
- Penguins forward Downie becoming a hit with teammates
- Penguins notebook: Newcomers get 1st taste of rivalry with Flyers
- Penguins notebook: Malkin returns to center