Kyle Mace/Sweetest Hockey On Eart
Goaltender Braden Holtby, seen here with Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates, will start for the Hershey Bears Thursday at Verizon Center.
Those who have been following the 82-day NHL lockout have surely experienced ups and downs. Promising talks have broken up abruptly, while unexpected twists have left fans buoyed by optimism.
Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera, on the other hand, has learned to temper his emotions.
"I don't get too up anymore," he said after working out at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Thursday. "I rode the roller coaster for a long time and kind of just said I don’t want to anymore. I'm hoping."
So are other players, owners and fans that a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached between the NHL and NHL Players' Association. The two sides held marathon sessions Tuesday and Wednesday in New York and are continuing to meet Thursday. After two days of player-and-owner-only meetings, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director have reentered the fray. Early reports, however, indicate that things have gotten contentious.
Meanwhile, the Caps' AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, were at Kettler Thursday morning preparing for the 2012 AHL Showcase against the Norfolk Admirals at Verizon Center. Goaltender Braden Holtby, who will start for Hershey Thursday, returned to the Caps' practice facility for the first time since leading them to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last spring.
"At the start, I was following it fairly closely, but once it seemed to be negative news after negative news, I just stopped because I was worrying too much about it," Holtby, who would have likely started the 2012-13 season in Washington if it would have started on time, said. "But the last few days, I've been following it a bit more. It's one of those things that you need to be in the room to know what's going on, so you just take it as it is. When it's over, it's over. Right now, we're still locked out.
"The last time I was in here was obviously a sad day that we were out, but there was a lot of great times at the end of last year. I think we’re all ready to get back and make more of those memories.”
So far, the NHL lockout has cost the league over 400 regular-season games, the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game. All games through Dec. 14 have been canceled.
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.