SUN Hockey Pool

Solidarity forever?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:58 AM ET

TORONTO -- Just because many members of the NHL Players' Association are meeting at an airport hotel, don't expect them to fly out of there with a resolution to the lockout.

Sources say NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow's message to the players will be the same as it has been for the last two years: Expect the worst and be prepared to be locked out for the entire season.

Recent comments by Calgary's Mike Commodore, Montreal's Pierre Dagenais, Ottawa's Brian Pothier and veteran Rob Ray have all called for an end to the lockout.

WHITE TRUSTS UNION

Today, the players will meet with Goodenow to see where discussions stand on a new collective bargaining agreement.

"We still believe in our leadership and the way that the union is acting is in everybody's best interests," said Senators centre Todd White, who arrived here last night from Ottawa with defenceman Wade Redden.

"I don't think a few guys saying things are going to change the way everybody feels. I'm sure if there weren't a gag order on the owners we'd hear some of them coming out right now and saying they want to play. There are only 30 owners. We have 700-plus players and guys are going to have differing opinions."

Players arrived last night to begin the session with an informal dinner and meeting. Today, they'll sit down with Goodenow and president Trevor Linden, along with the executive committee that includes Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who arrived from Sweden.

The union doesn't have a problem with players speaking out, but it wants to make sure everybody is informed. It's believed representatives of the 30 clubs will be asked to communicate with their teammates in the next couple of days to talk about the meeting.

"I've never been through this before so I'm going to do a lot of listening," said White. "I just think that if people have questions, they should come to the meeting and they should ask them or call the (union). (Goodenow) is always willing to answer questions. Ask (the question) and then listen to the response."

There is expected to be a lot of give and take between Goodenow and the players at the meeting.

SEN CHIDES TALKERS

The players, it seems, remain unified.

"As a player, I don't think I've ever been as informed as I am right now," said Senators defenceman Curtis Leschyshyn. "To come out with statements that the players aren't informed or that the PA is only taking care of the rich players is simply not true.

"It's not the case. If players have an opinion, they should express them to the union or their player reps. They shouldn't do it publicly.'


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