SUN Hockey Pool

Lockout 'eats at the brain'

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 6:23 AM ET

Spending months anticipating a player lockout took some of the edge off the disappointment for the Calgary Flames. Not all, though.

"Am I still frustrated?" defenceman Andrew Ference replied when that very question was posed to him.

"Do we have a deal yet? Yep, I'm still frustrated. I'm still annoyed. I don't think it's a surprise to many people this day came and the bad news came with it. But it's gonna eat at the brain a bit."

A total of 13 Flames players were in town to participate in the club's annual charity golf tournament yesterday.

Although the lockout is expected to be a long, drawn-out affair, most Flames players are remaining in Calgary for a couple of weeks in the hope a settlement will come sooner than later.

"I was hoping for a last-second agreement," winger Shean Donovan said.

"I'm trying not to think about (a whole season lost). I'm hoping for hockey as soon as possible. I'm a hockey fan, too, so I'm sad to see this. I feel so sorry for the fans."

The 30 NHL owners locked out the players at 10 p.m. MDT last night as the old collective bargaining agreement expired.

No meetings are scheduled between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow.

Knowing that caused forward Jason Wiemer to snap: "Are they smarter people than us?"

Since the end of the season, the players have been inundated with questions regarding how long they expect a labour stoppage to last and what will they do with the down time.

"I just don't know how long it'll take," Wiemer said. "It's going to take a lot of sacrifice on both sides and somebody giving.

"I feel they're gonna get us a deal that's beneficial to both sides soon because I can't believe we're going to miss out on a whole season."


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