The way Scott Hartnell sees it, the biggest difference between this (impending) lockout and the one that wiped out the 2004-05 season is simple:
The players’ union is better than it’s ever been.
“There’s a lot more communication than there was during the last lockout. I remember not really hearing a thing and being uninformed,” Hartnell told USA Today. “This time, every meeting we’re getting calls from player reps, union heads…we’re having conference calls.
“A lot of different guys are showing up to meetings and it’s great to be apart of it. It’s fun. It’s interesting. You’re going against some very powerful people that own multimillion-dollar companies and hockey teams.”
The NHLPA does appear to be much more organized than the last lockout.
The creation of the 31-player Negotiating Committee plays a big role in that — comprised of players from 19 of the league’s 30 teams, it includes a wide range of tenured players like John Tavares (21 years old) all the way up to 38-year-old Adrian Aucoin, the oldest committee member.
There’s also a handful of Ivy Leaguers — George Parros and Kevin Westgarth went to Princeton, Dominic Moore and Craig Adams went to Harvard, Douglas Murray went to Cornell — and reps from both the Ukraine (Ruslan Fedotenko) and Sweden (Murray, Henrik Zetterberg).
Hartnell says the way in which NHLers have rallied around each other during this difficult time is a positive sign for the future.
“The strength and the solidarity is absolutely awesome to see,” he said. “We want to play. The fans want to see us play.”
Derek Roy will continue his pro career overseas, as he has signed a contract with Bern in the Swiss League.
Roy attended training camp on a professional tryout with the Washington Capitals, but he was unable to claim a spot on their roster.
The 32-year-old had some great years in the NHL, but since the 2011-12 season Roy had suited up for six different teams (excluding his PTO with the Caps).
His best season came in 2007-08 when he scored 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
Roy will leave the NHL with 189 goals and 524 points in 738 career games.
He will join former NHLers Cory Conacher, Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Simon Moser and Sean Bergenheim in Bern.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.