As he walked through the lobby at Raleigh Center Ice on Wednesday, Carolina Hurricanes forward and assistant captain Jordan Staal couldn’t say much about the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations ongoing between the National Hockey League (NHL) and his union, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA).
It is believed that current talks could bring an end to the lockout that the league’s owners imposed on its players in order to negotiate a new CBA after the old one expired on Sept. 15.
For obvious reasons, the 110-day lockout has put Staal’s 10-year, $60 million contract on hold, not allowing him to draw a paycheck while also not allowing him to formally introduce himself on the ice to Carolina Hurricanes fans.
Wants to feel at home
He talked about being prepared to take to the ice with his new team but not being able to fully do so because of the lockout.
“Yeah, it’s been kind of frustrating for me,” Staal said.
“Especially coming to a new team and being excited about the season and playing in front of some new fans – just being a part of a new organization. I haven’t quite felt that yet, but I’m excited about it and hopefully it can happen soon.”
On the whistle
Slightly different than earlier workouts they have held during the lockout, Staal and the rest of his teammates pushed themselves harder, knowing that a new season may be ready to start soon and very quickly.
“There are a lot of guys in the situation where they’re just trying to get ready and be prepared for whatever happens next,” he said.
“It (workout) was tough. I think whether it happens or not, it’s going to happen very soon, so we’re going to be prepared for whatever happens, and get in as best shape as we can.”
Ready to push some people around
As most of the players’ on-ice sessions have consisted of skating, passing, and shooting drills, the Staal brothers took extra time at the end of the hour to work on puck possession and body contact work along the boards.
“We were just getting ready to start to push some people around,” Staal said with a smile.
Starting in the corner, Jordan and Eric both took turns with possession of the puck, pushing and kicking it along the boards – from the hash mark and back into the corner a few times - with the other shadowing and providing resistance - before finally powering out of the corner to take a shot on net.
“It can get tiring. It’s a whole different aspect than skating around. We started to push each other around and it definitely gets you to another level,” he said.
Obviously having done this to one another since they were kids, when asked who usually wins such battles along the boards, Jordan didn’t answer the question directly.
“I don’t know. You were watching” he said smiling.
“I wasn’t too pretty today - I didn’t have a good edge,” he said chuckling.
Though keeping in good spirits and understanding the seriousness of getting properly prepared for an intense season of play, Staal believes that a week would be a good period of time for him to get ready.
“I think I need about a week or so and I think the body will definitely come back into (NHL) shape. I still feel good out there, but it’s nowhere near to game shape – not until you really starting getting through training camp and getting prepared for the season.”
For now, instead of Jordan fighting for the puck and pushing players from other teams around, he’ll have to rely on Eric and his other teammates to prepare him to do so.
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