Saskin may be forced to cheque out

BRUCE GARRIOCH, Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

If you think the heat's on Ted Saskin right now to resign as executive director of the NHL Players' Association, wait until the players get their first paycheques.

While Saskin has been able to dodge all the bullets fired his way since he took over from the fired Bob Goodenow in July, sources indicate that might not be the case for much longer.

Already facing a revolt from 50 players who have filed a complaint over his hiring with the National Labor Relations Board in the U.S., Saskin didn't do anything to help his cause recently.

CANCELLED MEETING

A report yesterday indicated he cancelled a meeting Friday with the Islanders -- a team that has refused to vote on Saskin's status. Union spokesman Jon Weatherdon said the Long Island session was only tentatively scheduled and will be held in the near future.

If all of that isn't bad enough, Saskin will really hear it from the players when they receive their first post-lockout cheque next Sunday. The word is they're going to find a whopping 12.5% deduction for the NHL's escrow account.

UP TO A 36% PAY CUT

Coupled with the 24% rollback the players have already accepted, that could be a 36% cut in salaries for a union that has already lost a year of work because of a lockout.

Meanwhile, sources say a meeting with the Red Wings last month resulted in winger Brendan Shanahan -- a staunch supporter of Saskin's -- leaving the room after basically being told to be quiet by some of his teammates.

Not only have reports indicated that the Rangers have already voted down Saskin's regime, there's talk the Kings and Devils also gave him the thumbs down.

"There's nothing new," said Devils defenceman Brian Rafalski. "I've heard it all three or four times before."

Naturally, nobody would want to be in Saskin's shoes right now.

"These players will wake up on payday and realize they've agreed to a $30-million (US) salary cap," said a league source. "But I don't think Ted will resign. He (doesn't have that kind of) mentality. The bottom line is Ted brought this all on himself. I sense he thought he was in the clear once (Goodenow) was removed."

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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