The National Hockey League officially locked out its players after a new collective bargaining agreement wasn't reached over the weekend.
Despite current circumstances, some familiar Philadelphia Flyers' players will still be able to be seen at rinks across North America. For the time being, I'm okay with these developments.
I'm glad that current rules allow NHL teams to assign those players who have entry-level contracts to their minor league teams.
Because the Flyers were able to assign some players to the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League, at least Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, and Zac Rinaldo won't have to seek their own alternative playing options. Some other familiar faces who will be seen in Phantoms' gear include: Erik Gustafsson, Ben Holmstrom, Brandon Manning, Zac Rinaldo, Eric Wellwood, and Harry Zolnierczyk.
Another former Flyer, defenseman Danny Syvret, was assigned to the Phantoms as well. After originally being acquired from the Edmonton Oilers for Ryan Potulny in 2008, Syvret played parts of three seasons in Philadelphia (2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11) before he was signed by the St. Louis Blues as a free agent last season. The Flyers signed him as a free agent this summer in order to bolster their overall defensive depth.
The lane ahead
It's challenging to determine exactly when this impasse will end.
I understand the owners desire to gain greater control over their affairs, but also see the players' perspective regarding money matters and career security issues. Believe it, or not, I haven't felt compelled to take a side in this dispute. I'll save my emotion for the goals and the games and won't overreact to business matters.
I plan on shifting my interest toward the Phantoms and to what is now the top League (AHL) in North America. I've also been impressed by the level of play and the overall ambiance that is offered in the East Coast Hockey League over the years and hope to enjoy some Reading Royals and Trenton Titans' games this season.
According to our own physical abilities, those of us who are life-long hockey fans should also consider picking up our sticks and joining an adult league during the NHL's hiatus. I'll be the first to admit that this idea looks decent on the digital page, but might not actually happen.
It's probably best to table my idealistic notion for further review. Interestingly, I think that's what both sides in this real-life hockey dispute have done as well.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He has written professionally for over two decades and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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