WILMINGTON (CBS) – The Boston Bruins hit the practice ice at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington on Friday, unsure if they would be allowed back in when the weekend hits.
With an NHL lockout looming – set for midnight Saturday night if the two sides can’t reach an agreement on a new CBA – the Bruins packed up their bags and cleaned out their lockers. Although they will continue to skate as a team, in hopes of starting the season on time, it won’t be in the team facilities they practice at throughout the season.
“It doesn’t feel weird at all,” said B’s Captain Zdeno Chara. “We do this every day and it’s just going to be in a different facility.”
“You just get ready in case it happens,” said fellow defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “You never know, one day one side moves closer to the other and things get moving. Right now everybody is getting ready like we’re starting on the 21st, then we’ll go from there.”
But with the deadline fast approaching, and both sides remaining miles apart, the third lockout under commissioner Gary Bettman’s watch seems inevitable.
“It looks like it’s probably going to be delayed,” said Tyler Seguin. “Hopefully things work out and get done sooner rather than later.”
The entire Bruins team, along with many other NHL players, were in New York on Thursday to get a first-hand look at how the negotiations are going, and a little bit of education on what comes next.
“The feeling is that it hasn’t really changed much. We were hoping going to New York would bring some positive news,” said Seidenberg. “But the main thing we did was get educated on what was going on, what our proposal looks like, and what we do going forward. Other than that, not much has changed.”
“As a union we’re willing to stick together,” said forward Milan Lucic. “As players, we’re sticking through this. We believe in Don (Fehr), we believe in our message and we’re going to stay united as long as this takes.”
While some players have backup plans – Seidenberg is considering playing in Germany if there is an extended lockout – others will remain in Boston. Lucic has no intentions of playing for anyone but the Bruins, and Chara will continue to practice with his locked out teammates. Seguin, who just signed a six-year extension with the B’s, said he does have the option to play in the AHL or back home in Canada, but he will likely stick around Boston.
“I don’t see myself going back home. I’m looking for a place in Boston now, so I’ll probably stick around here,” he said. “We’ll change facilities over the next couple weeks, trying to get something going. We have a lot of guys here, so it should be pretty good.”