NHL players skating in Arizona this week
Phoenix captain Shane Doan sent word that there would be a mini camp of sorts this week, luring more players to Scottsdale.
About 30 players have participated in the workouts this week, separating onto two rinks for drills before coming together for 40 minutes to an hour of scrimmaging. There isn't any hard checking or an overwhelming intensity to the workouts, but it is a chance for the players to get out and play at close to game speed.
"We've had a pretty good group here the whole time and we added about 15 guys, so that made it to where you can play a full game," Doan said. "That makes it so it's 5-on-5 and there's a little bit of a break, not every other shift. Gives you a chance to really play. It just picks up the competitiveness and everyone wants to prove that they're capable of playing and it's a lot of fun."
For now, camps like this and informal workouts with teammates are all the players have.
The NHL lockout reached 75 days on Thursday and had already led to the cancellation of more than 400 games, including the New Year's Day Winter Classic and All-Star weekend.
Federal mediators joined the talks between the NHL and players this week, but the sides appear to still be far apart.
"I thought I knew what to expect, but here we are, it's almost December and we're talking in Phoenix," said Miller, who lives in Los Angeles and has been working out with Kings and Ducks players.
"It's very frustrating that we can't have a true partnership in the sense that the game was doing well. If it needed a tweak or two, we were more than willing to listen, but it seems everyone's on guard and no one trusts the other party. It's been going like that for years. It's tough."
Camps like the one this week will help them vent some of the frustration, but it's just not the same as playing in games that matter.