SUN Hockey Pool

What about it, Bob?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

TORONTO -- There will be no hockey this season, but there should be plenty of shots fired at today's NHL Players' Association meetings.

While NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow and the union's executive committee are going to face tough questions on why they flip-flopped on a salary cap, St. Louis' Chris Pronger, Calgary's Jarome Iginla along with Philly's Jeremy Roenick and Robert Esche will also come under fire.

Senators centre Bryan Smolinski -- who won't be on for the session that started with a dinner last night -- told the Sun several players want Pronger et al to explain what role they were trying to play by calling NHL VP Bill Daly last month during stalled negotiations.

"I know a lot of guys will be asking Pronger and (Roenick) exactly what their motivation was and what they were trying to do," said Smolinski. "If they've got the balls to call Bill Daly, then they should have the balls to stand up in front of us and explain what they were trying to do and why exactly they did it. I'm pretty sure that guys are going to demand an explanation."

PLAYERS UNDER FIRE, TOO

Roenick told the Philadelphia Inquirer last month that he was part of a group -- that included Pronger and Iginla -- who polled some members of the union to see if they'd be willing to accept a salary cap without a linkage to revenues.

Pronger apologized to the players on their private website for his role in the scenario. Sources say he and the other players mentioned were ripped from "limb-to-limb" on the website.

But not everybody will be pointing a finger at Pronger. Many players also want to know why Goodenow and the union decided to accept a salary cap when they had maintained through negotiations they would never accept a cap.

"There will be lots of questions. This is a tough situation, but we've left ourselves time to salvage next year," Devils goalie Martin Brodeur said.

This will be the first opportunity many players have had to vent since the lockout began. The meeting started yesterday with the players gathering at 4 p.m. and was expected to continue into the wee hours of the morning.

"This is a chance to have a face-to-face meeting with the membership," said Dallas winger Bill Guerin, a VP on the executive committee. "We're going to go through what's happened and address some of the issues (we face) in the future.

LOOK FOR WORK IN EUROPE

"I'm sure there's going to be all kinds of questions from the players and we welcome them all -- whether they're positive or negative. We know there are some guys out there who want some answers and we've got to address those issues."

With no new CBA negotiations planned in the near future, it's expected players will be told today if they are offered a contract in Europe for next season, they should take it.

"The two sides are just so far apart that I don't see any reason to believe there's going to be a simple resolution," said Guerin. "It's not really easy right now to sit back and look at which direction this is going to go in."


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