By: Nicole Sorce (@nicole_sorce)
September 12, 2012
As the Binghamton Senators coaching staff begins to think about which players might step up and lead the Binghamton Senators back to the playoffs this season, a recurring theme stunts their progress - the impending lockout in the National Hockey League.
Head coach Luke Richardson feels that he will heavily rely on the older veteran additions to the team, including Hugh Jessiman and Tyler Eckford, to help guide the younger players in the right direction. He also expects some of Binghamton's 2011 Calder Cup alumni, such as Andre Benoit, Eric Gryba and Mike Hoffman, to bring back a winning attitude to the clubhouse.
"If you look at the players that are returning from the Calder Cup, the list of potential leaders goes on and on," Richardson explained, "but it all depends on if there's a lockout or not in the NHL - who might be here and who might not."
For those who may be unaware, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is less than a week away from locking out the players for the third time in 18 years (with no negative effect on the AHL). Among the various arguments between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association include cutting players' salaries from 57 to 46 percent, dropping the salary cap from $70.2 million to $58 million, and limiting contracts to five to six years compared to long-term deals of up to a decade.
Although not many are particularly hoping for a lockout in the NHL, assistant coach Steve Stirling recognizes how great of an opportunity this could be for young players across the American Hockey League.
"If there's ever a lockout to start the season, then what an opportunity for these kids to come in and have the spotlight," explained Stirling. "It's pretty special that they'd be seen early and often. It would be a good opportunity for these kids to spotlight their talents."
If there are no National Hockey League games to cover, (most) pro scouts will be in AHL buildings.
Regardless of the NHL's status, the BSens and AHL will be in action this season. 2012-13 full season, half season tickets, coupon books, 10 and 5 game ticket plans are on sale now. Contact the Binghamton Senators' executive office at (607) 722-SENS (7367) to reserve your seats today or for more information.