Bob Goodenow has issued a stern warning to NHL players and agents in the wake of the new collective bargaining agreement: Keep your mouths shut.
After summoning both groups to Toronto for meetings next week to outline the contents of the CBA, the NHL Players' Association boss asked players and agents not to make any comments until they've seen the agreement.
While Goodenow admitted to the players and agents that some portions of the CBA leaked to the media have been correct, he also maintained there is misinformation making the rounds and asked them to be careful.
And the word is Goodenow might not even be in New York next week to shake hands with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman at the announcement to make the agreement formal because the meeting with agents continues Friday in Toronto.
"Goodenow just warned that we might want to be careful about what we say because nobody has seen the whole CBA yet and not everything that is being reported is correct," a league source said yesterday.
"I guess he knows a lot of guys are upset with this deal, but he believes they need to see the whole thing before they make any comments on it. I don't find this kind of warning a big surprise ... You have to expect it."
Still, it hasn't stopped players or agents from sharing their opinions on the union's decision to accept a $39-million (all terms US) salary cap after the PA insisted it would do nothing of the sort when the lockout started in September.
While the players scored a victory by getting the age of free agency dropped from 31 to 29 after next season and lower through subsequent years of the agreement, they gave in on the biggest issue.
That's why many believe Goodenow, along with senior director Ted Saskin, president Trevor Linden and the executive committee could be feeling the heat at next week's meeting. NHL GMs started getting a peek at the agreement during a meeting yesterday in New York.
Oddly enough, sources say the agreement was still being written as late as yesterday because lawyers were trying to pore over what is believed to be a document that is more than 600 pages.
The league had insisted no agreement would be announced until every 'i' was dotted and every 't' was crossed, but that apparently is not the case.
"As far as I know, this agreement is still in the hands of lawyers and that's part of the reason they haven't been releasing it to anybody ... Basically it's not completed. They're promising that will be done in the next couple of days," another league source said.
BABCOCK SIGNING OFFICIAL: Mike Babcock slipped on a Red Wings cap and officially kicked off a new era in Hockeytown. The Red Wings introduced their new coach yesterday during a news conference at Joe Louis Arena, and Babcock said he was looking forward to building on the Motor City's winning tradition. "It's a huge tradition here in success, and we want to carry that on," he said. Babcock, who led the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to within a game of a Stanley Cup title two years ago, agreed to terms a day earlier and replaces Dave Lewis during a time of transition for both the NHL and the Red Wings.