Alfie's got high hopes

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

A month ago, Daniel Alfredsson declared the NHL season was on life support. Now, he's optimistic it can be saved.

The Senators captain, speaking yesterday during a lunch-hour meeting requested by members of the Ottawa media, said he's confident a new proposal being presented by the players tomorrow can help solve the NHL lockout.

A VP on the NHLPA's bargaining committee, Alfredsson will head to Toronto today to meet executive director Bob Goodenow and president Trevor Linden before the proposal is presented to commissioner Gary Bettman.

"I'm optimistic we can get something done," said Alfredsson. " I don't think Gary Bettman will be able to just push this aside.

"We feel this is something he can work with and something that could help get further discussions going.

'MAJOR CONCESSIONS'

"I can't say much about what's in the proposal, but we really feel that we're going to make some major concessions.

"People think we want to keep the same because we make so much money. We know that we've got to give back. We don't want the status quo."

While the players had insisted they weren't going to make the next move in these talks, Alfredsson said the concepts of a new proposal have been talked about since the union's last offer was turned down on Sept. 9.

While the NHLPA was hopeful Bettman and the owners would come back with a new offer, the players weren't prepared to let the NHL simply cancel the season without making what is likely a last-ditch effort to save the year.

"You can't say this is going to be our last offer, but we've worked hard to make this proposal and we feel this is about as good as it's going to get," said Alfredsson.

"Everybody knows that if we go past Christmas with no negotiations and nothing happens, then there wouldn't be much time left. We felt that (the owners) weren't going to change to make anything happen because they aren't going to move off their line."

STIFFER LUXURY TAX

The offer will not contain the hard salary cap Bettman has been trying to get in negotiations, but Alfredsson hinted it will include a stiffer luxury tax along with changes to salary arbitration and the entry-level system.

"We're not going to accept a salary cap," said Alfredsson. "If they won't budge at all from a cap, everybody will know what will happen then.

"If they want to cancel the season, it doesn't matter what we have. But, I don't think that will happen.

"I think they will definitely look at it, make a good evaluation and see if this is something that will work.

"The idea behind this proposal isn't just to have something that's going to work for a year or two.

"We feel this can offer a long-term solution."


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