SUN Hockey Pool

'It's a whole new world'

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

Tie Domi had an interesting take on the idea of shootouts becoming a part of the new NHL.

"As a player who would never take (a shot), I would love it, too," Domi said.

Domi was able to crack a few jokes yesterday with the news that the NHL and NHL Players' Association had reached a new collective bargaining agreement in principle. He is relieved there will be NHL hockey later this year even though the owners have won the CBA battle.

Ratification is seen by a few of the Leafs as something that will happen without much of a problem. With revenues linked to the salary cap, the realization that they are solidly in this together with the owners has become clear.

"That's what we have to do, work on starting this partnership, build on the game together, having trust amongst one another," Domi said. "It's a whole new world out there and everybody has to realize that."

Defenceman Ken Klee also doesn't see ratification as a major hurdle. But he wondered whether the players could have been larger benefactors.

"(A salary cap) was a necessity at the end of the day," Klee said. "Until I look at the deal, it's hard to say whether we should have pushed harder. If the executive committee is bringing this to us to ratify, they think it is the best deal out there. I know some guys are frustrated by the whole process, but it's a business."

STAJAN MAY BENEFIT

Matt Stajan has waited a year to get going on his sophomore NHL season but, at 21, is not overly upset at missing a prime season in his development. Stajan, who played for the St. John's Maple Leafs in their final campaign in Newfoundland, knows there are parts of the new CBA that will benefit younger players. One stipulates that as of 2007-08, players, no matter their age, can become unrestricted free agents after seven years in the NHL. Since the lockout counts as a season, Stajan could be a free agent at 26.

"It's exciting there is something done, that we can look at and vote on," Stajan said. "I was getting used to the pace of the NHL and things were running smoothly. But it could have been a lot worse. I could have been in the downturn of my career. Hopefully we don't go through a mess like this again."


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