SUN Hockey Pool

Saying no would be mistake

Bob Goodenow felt the heat after negotiating the previous CBA back in 1994, and we all know how...

Bob Goodenow felt the heat after negotiating the previous CBA back in 1994, and we all know how that worked out for the NHL players. (Ottawa Sun File/Errol McGihon)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Exhilaration, happiness, shock, anger, disappointment and overjoyed. Players felt a wide range of emotions when they found out they could return to the ice in September.

NEW START FOR NHL

But before anything is finalized, the players will have to listen to NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow, senior director Ted Saskin, president Trevor Linden and the rest of the executive committee.

It's likely the majority of players will vote yes for the new CBA, but it might not be overwhelming, maybe a 60/40 or 70/30 split.

What kind of message will that send to the union and the league?

"My suggestion to the players would be that they vote from the heart," said agent Allan Walsh of Octagon Hockey. "I can't tell them how to vote. These players are the ones who are going to have to live with this agreement. It's up to them to say Yes or No to it. An agent can't tell them how to vote. That's the players' right to decide."

In the wake of the agreement which includes a $39 million (all figures US) salary cap, there was scuttlebutt that suggested whole teams are preparing to vote No.

The talk was groups of players from the Minnesota Wild, New York Islanders and Atlanta Thrashers are all prepared to shoot down the new CBA based on what they've read in newspapers and heard on television.

TUNE CHANGED QUICKLY

Remember, it was only eight months ago many of these players stood side by side and issued repeated statements that they would never accept a salary cap. That tune changed quickly once it was realized this lockout could well drag into next season and beyond.

You can't blame some of these players if they're embarrassed by what took place.

Nashville Predators player rep Scott Walker was on TV spouting off about not accepting a cap the night Saskin was negotiating one in Niagara Falls with NHL VP Bill Daly.

Naturally there are players who are upset about what's transpired in the last three months of negotiations. They don't feel the players should have ever given in to a salary cap.

The reality is there's no better deal waiting ... and another year away from hockey won't solve anything.

There have been plenty of suggestions Goodenow doesn't support the deal -- and that's probably the case -- but he's got to back what his executive committee accepted from the league -- or he should resign.

The union is confident the players will accept this deal and get back to work.

"I know there's been a lot of speculation about what's in the deal. I can't really say anything because it has to be presented to the players, but this is a deal that everybody can live with," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, a VP on the executive committee.

"What everybody has to do is get a close-up look at this and see exactly what is in this deal before they can make a decision. Once everybody gets a look, I think they'll see that this is a CBA that can work for the players. Hopefully, we'll have a good meeting and we'll be able to get back to playing."


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