AHL camps poised to start as NHL lockout continues
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - American Hockey League training camps open this weekend and Syracuse Crunch coach Jon Cooper is more than ready.
He better be. With the NHL lockout in full effect, there are quite a few more eyes on the AHL.
Cooper's team went through strength training on Friday and every player on the roster took part in an optional afternoon skate. And this time around - for now at least - Cooper won't have to worry about call-ups at the start of the season. The NHL and the players' association resumed negotiations on Friday after more than two weeks apart and agreed on issues related to player safety and drug testing. However, the core economic divide that is preventing an end to the stoppage was not even on the agenda, though negotiations are expected to last through the weekend.
The NHL regular season is scheduled to start Oct. 11, but the Crunch aren't thinking much about that. The franchise switched affiliations from Anaheim to Tampa Bay after last season and are intent on winning a second straight AHL championship.
Based in Norfolk, Va. last year, Cooper led the team to 55 wins and the Calder Cup, winning 29 straight games along the way and going 15-3 in the playoffs.