Unlike most of his hockey-playing brethren, Erik Cole can’t wait for his work stoppage to begin.
“I’m hoping to get locked out by the end of this week,” he told the Montreal Gazette on Wednesday.
It might seem like a bizarre comment to make, but do consider the circumstances — Cole’s been declared unfit to play hockey since late April, when a (self-admitted) premature return to the gym resulted in a lower-body injury.
Since then, he’s been in the loophole/vortex of collective bargaining in which injured players can remain in the care of their team’s medical and training staffs, and have access to all workout and treatment facilities.
In short, Cole’s allowed to go where few of his union mates are.
Not that he’s enjoyed the experience.
“It’s been miserable,” he said. “I was perplexed when the MRI came back and said everything was fine. So why was I still having pain if the tear was healed? The most frustrating thing was that, based on how I was feeling, I expected something to be wrong.
“It ended up just being a nerve that was inflamed and trapped in some scar tissue. But it’s been great since that calmed down.”
At 33, Cole wants to get back to skating and practicing with teammates as soon as possible. It sounds as though he’ll soon begin participating in La Tournee des Joueurs — the barnstorming Quebec caravan tour — but won’t head overseas like he did during the last lockout, when he suited up for Eisbaren Berlin of the German league.
According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.
Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.
The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.
Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.
“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”
The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.
Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.
It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.
Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.
He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.
Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.
If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.
The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.
The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.