Skating around in his old Washington Capitals helmet and a nondescript jersey, along with several former teammates, veteran Jeff Halpern on Tuesday was going about business as usual. The NHL could lock players out Sept. 15, but the New York Rangers forward and Potomac, Md., native has a contract and is preparing for camp.
“I’m going about the same way as I usually would, even as far as going up to New York and skating up there starting the end of this week,” the 36-year-old said. “As far as the type of training, it’s all kind of focused on being ready for Sept. 21.”
That’s the date Rangers camp is set to start, though it’s looking increasingly less likely that any NHL team will report on time. Halpern, for now, has been working out locally at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, but he plans on going to New York on Friday to begin preparations.
If there’s a lockout, naturally things can change.
“My plan is to go up to New York and as long as there’s guys skating, if I have people to skate with, I’ll do that,” Halpern said. “I might not be glued down all the time; I might be able to come visit back with family and stuff like that on the weekends, but I intend to be with my teammates up there and kind of go through it with them.”
Halpern was heavily involved in 2004-05 talks between the NHL Players’ Association and the league, when the entire season was canceled. He thinks it’s different this time around.
“Absolutely. Just the fact that they’re talking. I know there’s some big differences, I guess, that you keep hearing that there’s big differences. Really the things that we’re discussing now are a lot different than seven years ago,” Halpern said. “There was major, fundamental changes that happened in the last lockout. Right now we’re talking about percentages and defining revenues. I think those kind of things, it should be easier to talk through those things than it was major, major shifts in the landscape of the CBA.”
Read more about Halpern’s thoughts on the negotiations Wednesday on WashingtonTimes.com. Read the latest story from New York on the talks here.