A pair of former Windsor Spitfires is keeping a close eye on the collective bargaining between the NHL and its players association.
Forward Adam Henrique and goalie Jack Campbell are in Windsor training for an NHL season that may never start.
Henrique is coming off a stellar rookie campaign with the New Jersey Devils. And Campbell is property of the Dallas Stars. Neither knows what their futures hold.
The NHL’s owners will lock their players out Saturday if a new deal isn’t struck.
“They way I look at it, it’s the same as every other year. I just have to prepare myself. This can get resolved any day. I think all the players are in the same boat,” Henrique said after a morning skate Friday at the WFCU Centre.
Henrique was runner-up for the Calder Cup last season and had an incredible playoff run. He was set to return to the Devils training camp next week. He said as a young player he "has options" should the season start late or be cancelled.
Campbell, meanwhile, was likely going to play in the Stars farm system.
“It’s in the back of your mind. You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Campbell said of the lockout. “What’s in your control is working hard and proving why you should be there.”
While Henrique could likely play in Europe if there isn’t a season, Campbell said several NHL-calibre players could end up in the American Hockey league.
“It’ll be good for the league, especially for the guys knocking on the door of the NHL. There will be some better competition. It will only make you a better player,” Campbell said.
During the 2004-2005 lockout, Henrique was a 14-year-old fan.
He said he’s “learned a lot about the business” since being an NHL hopeful.
“There’s a lot that comes together that allows us to play,” he said. “It’s obviously tough. I’m a fan, too. I love watching and being a part of it,” Henrique said.
Henrique said the players are united.
“The players are sticking together. Everyone is supporting each and sticking together throughout this whole thing,” said Henrique, who was one of 300 players in New York this week. “They’re united and it’s good to see.”
In New York, the NHL and the union say they have been in touch but no new negotiating sessions are scheduled in advance of Saturday's deadline.