Normally, Craig Adams has a low profile gritty fourth-line checking forward who is a mainstay on the Penguins' penalty kill.
But these days, he has a slightly higher profile as a member of the NHLPA's negotiating committee and player representative.
Today, he is taking part in the latest round of negotiations between the players association and the NHL in New York. Last week, he talked about his role with the NHLPA.
What appeals to you to take on this duty?
"I think it’s more a sense of responsibility I guess. If everybody let someone else do it, nothing would ever get done. I find some of the stuff interesting. But everyone sort of needs to take their turn. Other guys have done it for me before."
How did you get involved? Where you approached or did you volunteer?
"There was sort of a discussion of who was interested in being part of the negotiations. It’s really informal in the sense that we have a negotiating committee but we have guys showing up to meetings and bargaining sessions all the time that aren’t on the negotiating committee or player (representatives). That’s the way (NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr) wants it and it’s been really, really good in terms of spreading out the responsibility and also having more than just a few guys really informed. I think we’ve had 70-odd guys at bargaining sessions so it’s been really good."
Where there any players you looked up to in this role during the 2004-05 lockout?
"It was a little different then because I think we only had six or seven guys on the executive committee. It was Billy Guerin and guys like that. (Vincent) Damphousse, Bobby Boughner, (Daniel) Alfredsson, (Arturs) Irbe and Trevor Linden. Those guys did a lot of work. They pretty much gave up a year of their lives to that process and probably didn’t get the thanks they deserve for doing that."
Is there a difference in perspective on this issue with younger and older players?
"I don’t know if it necessarily has to do with age. I’ve definitely have noticed that some guys they’ll sort of get interested right away and some guys will go their whole careers and not get too involved. It’s sort of the full spectrum."
Would you ever consider a role with the players association after your playing career is over?
"I don’t know. Honestly, that’s thought has never crossed my mind. I don’t know. I’m just focused on playing right now. The people we have there now are outstanding and giving great leadership. They don’t need me."
Is there any any isssue with communicating or educating European players on the issues with this lockout?
"If there’s a language issue, obviously that makes it tough. Don goes over and does meetings in Europe. I don’t know how if works … if there’s translators or what. It’s hard for those guys. Especially when they’re gone all summer over there."
(Photo: Harry How/Getty Images)