GLENS FALLS -- The hockey world, including the Philadelphia Flyers currently playing with the Adirondack Phantoms, woke up to some good news on Sunday. The NHL lockout was over.
Center Sean Couturier had a couple of text messages waiting for him. Left wing Zac Rinaldo found out when checked the TSN app for news upon waking up Sunday morning.
“It was a pretty good way to wake up this morning,” Couturier said. “(The lockout) was frustrating for everyone. It’s not what anyone wanted, but we had to go through it.”
Like many fans, Rinaldo had gotten tired of getting his hopes up as the news out of the negotiations looked good only to have the talks fall apart.
“They kept saying it was ending and then it wasn’t, so after the second time of them toying with me I kinda stopped paying attention in general, until it started cracking down for the last little bit there,” he said.
It was once the NHL imposed a drop-dead date of Jan. 11 and the talks really intensified in the past few days that he started paying more attention again.
He hasn’t heard anything from the Flyers yet, so doesn’t know when he will be heading to Philadelphia, but he knows there will be NHL hockey at the Wells Fargo Center again.
The NHL board of governors expects to ratify the new CBA on Tuesday and then start training camps on Wednesday. The league has not announced if the season will be 50 games starting on Jan. 15 or 48 games starting on Jan. 19 or what the schedule will be.
As fans have become more and more frustrated with the third lockout in the past 18 years, some have said they won’t return to the NHL. Others have proposed boycotting the home openers to send a message. Those talks don’t concern Rinaldo, however.
“Not Philadelphia fans, and those are the only fans I’m worried about,” he said.
The Phantoms aren’t sure exactly how this will affect them but always knew that a roster shake-up was coming. According to a Flyers team source, Couturier, Rinaldo and Schenn are definitely returning to Philadelphia as well as possibly some combination of Erik Gustafsson, Eric Wellwood, Harry Zonlierczyk and Tye McGinn.
That they have been playing in the AHL is an advantage for them, as most of the NHL players have been away from hockey. Some have been playing in Europe, but most have been just been skating with each other, not working and playing with a team.
“Playing with the Phantoms was a great experience, it kept me in game-shape and I think I improved as a player,” Couturier said. “Hopefully I can start off the right way with the Flyers and keep going in the right direction.”