SUN Hockey Pool

Daniel Alfredsson the poster boy for NHLPA sacrifice

Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson may have paid the highest price during the last NHL lockout,...

Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson may have paid the highest price during the last NHL lockout, giving up about $14-million in salary. (TONY CALDWELL/QMI Agency file photo)

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:04 PM ET

Daniel Alfredsson has often exhibited exquisite timing on the ice.

Off the ice, the timing of NHL labour battles have hammered the captain of the Ottawa Senators.

There likely isn't a player who wound up having to sacrifice more as a result of the concessions the players made to end the last lockout in 2004-05.

Now, another looming lockout threatens what will likely be the last NHL season for the 39-year-old.

If there's a guy who has the right to be bitter about the current state of affairs, it would be Alfredsson.

Instead, he's optimistic a deal will be struck. And that was before word came down Tuesday that the owners and players would meet Wednesday morning for the first time since talks stalled Aug. 31.

The classy Swede, after skating with some teammates and other NHLers Tuesday, was playing the role of elder statesman, holding out hope a deal will be struck before too long and even offering to help get a deal done.

Alfredsson will be among the more than 200 players expected to gather at a mid-town Manhattan hotel Wednesday and Thursday to be updated by NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr and talk about the current process to get a new deal done with the NHL.

The NHL's board of governors will meet Thursday.

Alfredsson is the poster boy for what the players sacrificed to get a deal done the last time around.

He gave up roughly $14-million as a result of the last CBA negotiation, which saw the players take a 24% haircut as part of the current deal, a deal which is set to expire Saturday and plunge the NHL into another work stoppage.

As a vice-president of the players association at the time, Alfredsson helped negotiate the deal which saw him take that 24% hit on the new contract he signed in August 2004, just before the lockout began. It was a deal potentially worth $35-million. Given the rollback and the $5-million he lost when the 2004-05 season was wiped out by the work stoppage, the process cost Alfredsson about $14-million in salary and signing bonuses on the original value of his deal.

Alfredsson knows about sacrificing to get a deal done.

He's paid maybe more than anybody.

The owners want the players to give up again this time around, taking a smaller percentage (46% vs. 57% in the current deal) of a redefined (read smaller) revenue pie.

What would Alfredsson be willing to give up this time around?

"I don't know if we have a number, but I think we feel the solution is not just for us to give back everything and if they can't still be profitable, we're going to have to give up again," said Alfredsson. "I don't think in the long run that's a solution. I think with our proposal we gave from the beginning we could adjust, we could give back and with proper revenue sharing that will definitely help out the weaker teams is the way to go, not just to go to the players and say, 'We can't afford this, you guys are going to have to give money back and pay escrow,' or however you want to word it.

"It's not just players' salary that's going to solve everything. That's not going to be the solution, especially long term. If you want healthy teams, there has to be proper revenue sharing involved. So far we haven't been able to agree on something like that."

Alfredsson said if it winds up there are formal negotiations this week, he would like to be a part of them.

As far as the two sides finding themselves where they are with the clock ticking down to Saturday's expiration of the current deal and the start of another lockout, Alfredsson said he's not surprised.

"I can't say I'm discouraged. It was a little bit anticipated," he said. "I think everybody hoped we would have been further along, but at the same time I think we won't see anybody show their best hand until maybe next week or a few weeks from now, even. I can't say I'm discouraged.

"I still feel there is a possibility for something to get done."

Here's hoping he's right.

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/CJ_Stevenson


Videos

Photos