Former Erie Otters captain Ryan O’Reilly, who played the past three seasons with the Colorado Avalanche and is now a restricted free agent, shared his thoughts recently on the NHL lockout and the state of negotiations between the league’s owners and Players Association:
On when the season could begin:
You hear all sorts of things. I’ve been hearing November, end of November. Then they’re saying January (in time for) the Winter Classic. Then people are saying there won’t be (a season). So it’s tough to tell what it’s going to be. I try to hope for the best. I’m hoping in November we’re back playing hockey, at least any time in November playing hockey. Then again it’s not really up to me.
On the biggest issues between owners and players:
It’s not just one issue. There’s a bunch of issues. We’re willing to take less in revenue and have a growth period because we see how much (the league is growing. Our proposals I think have been very good. They (the owners) still don’t think that it’s right. That’s the way it goes through a negotiation. We’ve just got to keep staying with it.
On the state of negotiations:
They did meet (recently) on some non-core issues and stuff. So definitely the communication is back now, which is huge. That’s what we need. Now that we’ve got that first one out of the way after the lockout, to finally get that going now is a step in the right direction. Now hopefully we just continue to keep scheduling meetings and getting further and further.
On not having a contract with the Avalanche:
I can’t sign during the lockout. I understand the way things work. It happens. When there is a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) in play, negotiations will start (on a new contract). It just takes a little while. My situation is a bit unique. Having more point production and being looked at as a two-way forward playing against top lines, it’s not the typical player you see at this age (21). I don’t have any expectations. I know it’s going to be a waiting game. I’m just trying to keep a level head and keep focused on things I can control, which is staying in shape.
- Victor Fernandes