SUN Hockey Pool

Iced age of NHL hockey

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:25 AM ET

Unless a last-minute proposal made by a group of players -- including Jeremy Roenick, Chris Pronger and Jarome Iginla -- is successful, the NHL season is dead.

With NHL commissioner Gary Bettman poised to cancel the 2004-05 season tomorrow, there was a razor-thin ray of hope last night that a miracle agreement could be reached.

While NHL VP Bill Daly and NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin met for 12 hours yesterday and will meet again this morning, the more intriguing development involved some high-profile NHLers.

A source told the Sun a group of six players -- that was believed to include Roenick, Pronger and Iginla -- was trying to pitch a deal which would see the NHLPA accept a salary cap, likely with a $42-million US limit but without a link to revenues.

Roenick confirmed that he was part of the group in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer last night, but said his role was only to call other players and gauge their interest in a salary cap without a link to revenues.

"I was involved with a group of NHL players who were trying to get as many (players) as possible to come on board with a resolution that works for both sides. The proposal was to have a number that (is) not tied to revenues," admitted Roenick. "We're a strong union, but we are frustrated with the lack of communication, the lack dialogue and negotiation by the NHL. It feels like we've given and given and the owners keep coming back each time asking for more. The proposal was (the players) would accept a salary cap at a much higher level if it were not linked to revenues. Would that be viable to our union?"

UNDERMINED?

Roenick said nobody is trying to undermine union executive director Bob Goodenow's authority.

"Bob Goodenow should not be threatened. He should be encouraged that the players care. Bob Goodenow works for the players," said Roenick, who has been vocal throughout the collective bargaining process.

"If the union is talking a certain way and wants something done, it's his job to listen to those players. I don't think this jeopardizes the job (Goodenow) and (NHLPA president) Trevor (Linden) are trying to do. We all support the work they have done. I want people to know where the league is headed if they cancel the season. It would never be the same."

Coyotes defenceman Sean O'Donnell said he isn't sure if a cap without a link would be accepted by the NHL, but added there's no reason to accept anything the NHL has offered, either.

NOTHING TO 'VOTE ON'

"I know that (Senators owner) Eugene Melnyk said that we should hold a vote, but what have the owners given us to vote on so far? There's no way we would accept any of the proposals they've given us at this point," said O'Donnell.

"With the way Gary Bettman has run the league, why would we accept a deal that is tied to revenues with his track record? It's pointless to sit here and speculate on hypotheticals. Right now, we haven't been given anything that we can vote on."


Videos

Photos