Reporting John Shumway
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The ticking of the clock is getting louder for the National Hockey League as they rush towards two deadlines that could mean no hockey this season.
On the ice at Southpointe on Wednesday, the Penguins were on the ice and loving it; and also anxious to get back to work.
“Like everybody, we love the game, we’re missing it and we want to get back out there. But not at any price; we want what’s fair,” said Pascal Dupuis, Penguins’ left winger. “Hopefully, the negotiations in the next couple of days, and even today, will bring us just that.”
During their time on the ice Wednesday morning, they were temporarily away from their electronic devices that keep them connected to what’s happening in New York.
But already, a tentative return to work date has surfaced.
“We’re obviously preparing like we’re certain the 12th. I think it’s been said enough that we’re cautiously optimistic,” said Penguins’ defenseman Brooks Orpik.
Cautious because some of the latest messages from the talks are somewhat discouraging.
“I know the pension issue is one thing that really is going to be a big hurdle here,” said Orpik. “It’s something we thought was already agreed upon, and obviously, now it’s something that maybe took a step backwards.”
“We all realize the window is pretty small right now, so if we don’t start discussing some major issues and get some things settled, it’s not going to look too good,” said Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby. “So, I hope everyone finds a way to work it out.”
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has made it clear they need an agreement very soon to salvage any season at all. And while the players are anxious, it has not lessened their resolve.
“If the guys had just wanted to get on the ice and play at any price, I think we would have been on the ice at the start of training camp,” said Dupuis. “It’s a matter of getting the right deal for us as players that’s why there’s no hockey right now.”
So, they continue practicing.
“There’s no deal in place yet, so we’ll just keep training and wait for a resolution there,” said Orpik.
“Hopefully, everyone will find a way to work it out,” added Crosby.
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