SUN Hockey Pool

Agents to get their say

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:31 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Player agents will get their shot at NHL Players' Association boss Bob Goodenow today.

League sources told the Sun yesterday that they don't expect the session at an O'Hare Airport hotel to be fiery, but "a few" agents have considered asking Goodenow to bring in a mediator in a bid to resolve the labour dispute with the NHL.

Sources say the group -- which may have included Edmonton's Ritch Winter and L.A.'s Ron Salcer -- discussed the idea of a mediator with their clients. During a meeting in Toronto earlier this month, Goodenow told players that neither side wants to involve a third party.

"Look, I talk with NHL agents all the time. I might talk to four a day. I don't think anybody should be making anything out of this," said Winter, who was in Ottawa on business yesterday.

"I'm going to this meeting in Chicago with an open mind. I want to hear what (Goodenow) has to say. To do anything different would be foolish because I really have no idea of what's happening with these negotiations right now. That's why I'm going. I want to find out. I'm going to listen and ask questions."

Sources say players were told at the Toronto meeting to keep their agents out of the process because this is a matter that will be settled by the union and the NHL.

Winter, Salcer and others such as Don Meehan, Pat Morris, Larry Kelly, Allan Walsh, J.P. Barry, Pat Brisson, Steve Bartlett, Matt Keator and Don Baizley are expected to be among the 60 agents at today's session.

Goodenow will be backed by the NHLPA's executive committee, including president Trevor Linden and Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin said the union won't ask the agents for a solution to get a new collective bargaining agreement in place, but their suggestions will be welcomed.

INFORMATION SESSION

"The purpose of this meeting is mainly an information session and to see if there are any questions," said Saskin. "We would welcome any suggestions that these guys might have.

"I'm sure we're going to exchange some ideas and see where everybody is at."

The agents are looking forward to getting a chance to have their say.

"I'm sure (Goodenow) will ask if we have any ideas that we'd like to put forward," said Brisson, co-managing director of IMG Hockey. "I really believe that the players have made a lot of concessions and they can't negotiate with themselves. That's the reality ... There has to be give and take in negotiations."

But Goodenow will face the same question as at the players' meeting: Why aren't there any negotiations?

"We've always been willing to negotiate, but it takes two to tango," said Saskin. "(The league) hasn't shown any interest in coming to the table to get anything done."


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