SUN Hockey Pool

'PA confident CBA will pass

With the NHL on the verge of officially ending its lockout, the Stanley Cup was in Ottawa Tuesday...

With the NHL on the verge of officially ending its lockout, the Stanley Cup was in Ottawa Tuesday at the Brian Smith Memorial Golf Tournament at the Marshes. Hamming it up with Stanley are (from left) Kent Blackburn, Duncan McNaughton, Dave Bruun and Ken Borg. (Ottawa Sun/Jason Ransom)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

TORONTO -- Senators centre Mike Fisher will get his first look at the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement today at the Toronto Westin Hotel.

And it won't change his vote one bit.

The reality is the nuts and bolts of the deal are irrelevant to Fisher and virtually every other player who watched a season go down the tubes because of the lockout.

"You can't say it 100% until you get a look at it, but I've pretty much decided which way I'm going to vote. I want to get back to playing hockey. I've had enough of this crap. It's time to start playing hockey again," Fisher told the Sun yesterday from Peterborough.

Fisher will be among more than 200 players who are going to take part in a two-day session with NHL Players' Association boss Bob Goodenow and the executive committee.

J.R. STILL BITTER

Not every player is happy, however.

"I'm sure the players will (be) very upset to see (a CBA) that could have been done last year," Flyers centre Jeremy Roenick told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "We lost a lot of money and have done a lot of damage to the game. I won't be there. I've said my piece, given my opinion. What has happened here speaks for itself."

And like Roenick, many of the 700-plus members of the union won't be attending the seminar, either, but for an entirely different reason.

They have put their faith in NHLPA president Trevor Linden, and if it's good enough for him they'll ratify the CBA.

"We put the trust in our executive committee to get us the best deal possible and they wouldn't bring us a deal if they didn't think that we were going to ratify it," said centre Todd White, the Senators' NHLPA representative.

In fact, the NHLPA is so confident the deal will be ratified, it has already called a press conference, which will include Goodenow, NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin and Linden, tomorrow at the Toronto Westin following the formal vote.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and league VP Bill Daly, the chief negotiator of the new deal, will also be on hand. All the parties -- with the exception of Goodenow --will then fly to New York for a splashy news conference following the board of governors' meeting on Friday.

GOODENOW CAN'T BE HAPPY

"Guys want to get back to playing. I know I want to get back to playing," said White. "But this is why we gave our bargaining committee the power to get us the right deal at the start of these negotiations. I'm sure what we've got here is the best deal that we could possibly get."

Meanwhile, many NHL insiders are wondering what kind of face Goodenow is going to put on during the meetings with players. He has always been opposed to a salary cap, so the new CBA has to be a bit of slap in the face to him.

"I can tell you what I think Goodenow is going to say," a league source said. "He'll say, 'This is not the deal that anybody thought we would be doing when we started this. I don't like this deal, but it is the best possible deal that we can get now. The only option if you turn this down is to continue to sit and wait and most likely it will mean cancellation of the next season.' "


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