SUN Hockey Pool

Lafleur offering CBA solution

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

Guy Lafleur has a solution for all the hockey players who think the NHL could operate just fine under any one of the NHLPA's most recent proposals.

Pool some of your own millions and buy a few teams. If ownership is such a cakewalk, if you want to pay out 70 per cent of your diminishing revenues in salaries, go for it.

"If it's so easy, why don't they just buy their own team and see," the former Montreal Canadiens' star said yesterday.

"The players have to be realistic about it, there needs to be a situation where both parties are happy."

Right now, nobody is, and all of the oldtimers who gathered at Rexall Place last night shudder to think of the damage being done to the game they love.

"Cooler heads have to prevail here," said former Flames captain Lanny McDonald. "They have to find a way to get a deal done, it's ridiculous the harm that is being done, not only to ownership and players, but to the game."

McDonald says it'll be long time before the scars of this lost season fade.

"I think it's going to take way longer to recover from this than people think. When you're out this long, people find other ways to spend their entertainment dollars, they're just finding other things to do. When you lose them it takes you that much more energy, effort and money to get them back."

Glenn Anderson, who lives in New York, hasn't heard anything about the lockout, which speak volumes in itself.

"We just don't get that much hockey news in the States," he said.

"But I'm sure that now that I'm up here I'm going to hear a lot more about it. But what I do know is that there isn't a corporation in the world - not IBM, not GE - that can shut down for a year and recover. It just doesn't make business sense to shut an operation like that down."

The NHL and the NHLPA resumed talks yesterday, but any potential agreement is still eons away. That leaves today's players to sit and wait, and pass the time in any way they can.

"They're talking, so that's a big thing," said Ryan Smyth, who held a press conference yesterday to hype a charity hockey tour that stops in Red Deer next Tuesday.

"At least they're not butting heads. I was actually surprised that they're resuming talks this early, so we'll see."


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