Daniel Alfredsson has been reduced to the role of spectator in the ongoing NHL labour talks.
While representatives of the NHL and the NHL Players' Association negotiated late last night in New York to try and hammer out a deal -- possibly for today -- the Senators captain hasn't been directly involved in the discussions for weeks.
The NHLPA VP told the Sun yesterday that the union's executive committee is no longer participating in the discussions and the new collective bargaining agreement process is now in the hands of lawyers.
Ideally, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman would like to announce the deal today because Major League Baseball is on its all-star break and there are no games scheduled, which could get hockey some much-needed airtime in the U.S.
Alfredsson was noncommittal when asked if an announcement is imminent.
"I haven't been involved in the talks in the last couple of weeks," Alfredsson said from his Ottawa home. "I know they're making progress and I know they're working on issues and I know the lawyers are going through stuff.
"I don't know how long that's going to take. Could it be a week or two weeks? I don't know. If we keep going in this direction, we're going to get something done, but we've been here before. It's the same answers to the same questions you've been asking. We're all just waiting to get something done."
The two sides have been huddled in meetings trying to plow through the remaining issues so that the new CBA can be announced and work can begin in earnest to get the agreement ratified.
The NHL is not likely to hold a celebratory press conference once the deal is done. It's possible Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow will issue separate statements indicating what steps have to take place before the deal is ratified.
If a deal is announced today, an NHL board of governors' meeting will be called before the weekend, while the players and agents will be summoned to Toronto to be shown exactly what's in the CBA.
Sources say the deal is being held up by the NHLPA, which is trying to get the league to make more concessions to ensure that the CBA will be ratified by the players.
"Look, everybody wants to get this done and get back to playing. We all want to be on the ice and both sides have been working hard to get this deal done," said Alfredsson.
"But we've been in this position before, where we've thought that something was close and nothing has happened. It's never done until it's done. Everything has to be in place before a deal can happen. That's what they're working on making happen right now."