Phillips: 'We care'

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 6:50 AM ET

Chris Phillips cares about the NHL. So, he says, do other players, coaches, management types and owners. So as he sat in front of his TV set yesterday afternoon, he was a little upset and disappointed when he heard what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had to say when he announced the players would be locked out beginning at 12:01 this morning.

Phillips didn't like it when Bettman said the players either "don't care" or want a lockout to get the best deal in a new collective bargaining agreement.

"There's been a lot of talk, a lot of back and forth about what's going to happen, but I believe everybody involved in this process cares," said Phillips. "We care about what's happening here and we want to see something get done. That's the only part I find a little bit frustrating.

"Of course, we feel the best thing for both sides is to get back to playing hockey. The owners, players and fans all care about the game. That's why we're involved with the game.

"We all want to get these issues solved because we care so much. We all want to get something done. We knew this was coming. This is pretty tough because, obviously, both sides are at opposite ends of the issues right now and there's no common ground.

"Nobody knows how long this is going to last. It's frustrating when you aren't able to go out and get your job done."

Senators president Roy Mlakar and GM John Muckler have called a news conference for today at 11 a.m. when they will discuss the measures that will be taken during the lockout.

Yesterday, the Montreal Canadiens announced their employees will take paycuts and work four days a week. It's possible most league teams will follow suit.

HAVLAT AND VARADA SIGN: The CBA expiring didn't stop Muckler from announcing the signing of W Martin Havlat to a one-year, $2.3 million (all terms US) contract and LW Vaclav Varada to a two-year contract. Muckler met with Havlat yesterday morning and then signed the deal, which has been reported by the Sun, before the lockout started. "We're pleased to get something done," said Havlat's agent, Allan Walsh. "I'm pleased with the deal that we were able to get in place and the way the negotiations went." As for Varada, he refused to sign his qualifying offer until the Senators added another year to the contract.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com 


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