Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

September 17, 2012

Sabres trying to remain upbeat as lockout practices begin



Sabres are quick to credit the leadership of NHL Players’ Association executive director Donald Fehr, baseball’s former powerful union head. He’s keeping players informed, even-keeled and being blunt, Leopold said.

“(We) kind of saw the trend coming,” Leopold said. “We’ve been locked out twice before. Most likely they’ll be a third lockout. It speaks to the CBA that we have. It needs some adjustment. I think the big thing as players (is) we don’t want to be here at the end of the next CBA. We need to break the cycle and break the string.”

Some Sabres aren’t waiting around town, however. As he promised, Christian Ehrhoff is joining his hometown DEL team, the Krefeld Penguins. The insurance had been worked out and the defenseman was en route to Germany on Monday, said Richard Curran, his agent.

Leopold would consider European offers. He spent most of the last lockout recovering from a concussion.

“Guys want to play hockey,” Leopold said. “That’s the big thing. If they have the opportunity … it’s good for them. It shows that we have some options. Our job right now is to stay in shape and be ready when training camp opens, whenever that is.”

Veteran Matt Ellis would strongly consider heading overseas if an opportunity arises. Newcomer Steve Ott doesn’t plan to look for other work unless the dispute stretches to January.

Hecht has an offer to play for his hometown DEL club, the Mannheim Eagles. Right now, he’s still hoping to land an NHL job.

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