Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Senators Preparing for Training Camp to Start on Time as Lockout Looms

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Senators Preparing for Training Camp to Start on Time as Lockout Looms

Article excerpt

Business as usual for Senators - for now

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OTTAWA - Though the prospect of an NHL work stoppage seems increasingly likely, the Ottawa Senators are preparing as if training camp will open on time.

"Nothing changes," defenceman Chris Phillips said. "We're staying in shape. This is training camp, minus the exhibition games.

"Nothing changes for us, we'll keep training and keep negotiating, but there comes a point where we can't just keep negotiating with ourselves which is basically what's happening."

A number of Senators were in New York this week, including star forwards Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, to take part in NHL Players' Association meetings amid labour negotiations between the league and the union.

While players had hoped to see some progress made on a new collective bargaining agreement, they realize a work stoppage is likely inevitable as the league and union remain clearly divided. The league has said it will lock players out if a new agreement isn't reached just before midnight on Saturday.

"This could take a while," Alfredsson said.

Despite facing a lockout, players plan on remaining prepared for the start of the season by training and skating regularly.

Players who have been skating in Ottawa include Alfredsson, Spezza, Phillips, goaltender Craig Anderson, tough guy Chris Neil and centre Zack Smith. Also in the nation's capital are a number of young players who will likely find themselves playing in the AHL with Binghamton, including Jared Cowen, Mika Zibanejad and Robin Lehner.

Cowen remains the Senators lone player still on his two-way entry-level contract. Lehner and Zibanejad would have likely been competing for spots in Ottawa, but could have just as easily found themselves in Binghamton regardless of the lockout.

Many players say remaining in Ottawa will be their first choice for the foreseeable future. But should negotiations appear to come to a stalemate, they would consider looking at other options.

"My intention is to stay here and skate and I expect to play this season," Anderson said. …

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