On rented ice, locked out Flyers practice

Gary Bettman , at left, the NHL commissioner, and deputy Bill Daly did not meet Monday with union chief Donald Fehr, above. Canadian Press, AP
Gary Bettman , at left, the NHL commissioner, and deputy Bill Daly did not meet Monday with union chief Donald Fehr, above. Canadian Press, AP
Posted: September 19, 2012

Several Flyers were at the Skate Zone practicing early Monday morning; it was a typical pre-camp development at this time of year.

This time, though, the players had to rent the ice and weren't allowed in their spacious locker room at the Voorhees training facility.

Such is life during the NHL lockout.

"It seems ridiculous, but all things considered, you have to stay fit and be ready," said Flyers winger Scott Hartnell, who added that informal practices, without coaches, will take place all week. A new collective bargaining agreement "could be done next week or could be done in a month or two months, and you have to be in shape and ready to go."

Some leaders representing the owners and players were celebrating Rosh Hashanah, which lasts until Tuesday evening, and had no meetings Monday.

Bill Daly, the NHL's deputy commissioner, told a Toronto radio station that he and Steve Fehr, the NHLPA's special counsel, would talk Tuesday night and try to lay some groundwork.

Although they have not had any formal meetings since Wednesday, Donald Fehr, executive director of the NHLPA, and Daly have been exchanging ideas each day through e-mails, a league source said.

After their informal practice, six Flyers took part in a benefit golf tournament for area children's charities that Hartnell helped put together at Woodcrest Country Club in Cherry Hill. Hartnell is a member of the NHLPA's negotiating team. Flyers players Danny Briere, Kimmo Timonen, Jody Shelley, Matt Read, and Zac Rinaldo joined Hartnell on the golf course.

Some of the Flyers' coaches and general manager Paul Holmgren were scheduled to participate but were banned by the NHL, Hartnell said. Flyers employees were told they could not be at a players' golf tournament during the lockout.

"I was a little upset about it," Hartnell said. "Even though we have a labor dispute right now, there shouldn't be any dispute about helping the [#Hartnell Down] foundation."

As for negotiations with the owners, Hartnell said the players "don't want to rob them for all they're worth. . . . We just want a fair deal."

Hartnell plans to play in Finland if the lockout lingers. Jakub Voracek will play in the Czech Republic during the lockout.

"It's a lot more expensive to do business today," Daly told the Toronto radio station. "There's also a lot of other costs associated with running hockey franchises that don't get accounted for."

Orest Kindrachuk, one of a handful of former Flyers who participated in the golf tourney, said both sides should simplify things and accept a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue. In their last proposal, the owners offered the players 49 percent during the first year of the new CBA, with the revenue dropping to 47 percent later in the pact. The players want about 53 to 54 percent.

"Why not just say, 'Hey guys, let's go 50-50 and see how this works for the next five years?' " Kindrachuk said. "It would really be nice to see guys get together and say, 'What is better for the game?' . . . And sitting out is not."

Former Flyers goalie Bernie Parent was asked whether the players ever came close to a strike when he played.

"How can you when the tickets were $9.50 for the Finals?" he said. "What are you going to do? Bring it up to $10?"

During his era, Parent said, the top players earned about $250,000. (By comparison, 25 players were scheduled to make $7 million to $14 million this season.) Parent said he made $18,000 as a rookie with the Boston Bruins in 1965.

"Today, the boys use this to buy dinner," he said.

Ticket update. The Flyers told season-ticket holders they can receive 2 percent interest on their payments, or they can receive monthly refunds for the amount of games canceled each month. By comparison, the Minnesota Wild are offering season-ticket holders 10 percent interest if they keep their accounts full during the lockout and do not request refunds.

Contact Sam Carchidi at scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @BroadStBull.


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