Stevie Y no sell out

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

TROY, Mich. -- Steve Yzerman says NHL players can't sell out the next generation.

The Red Wings' longtime captain and star centre told the Sun in an exclusive interview near his Detroit home yesterday that if the union was to accept the current offer from the NHL to end the labour dispute, the NHLPA would be "selling out" future players.

Saying he doesn't expect the lockout to be settled this year and isn't sure if hockey will be back before next January, Yzerman admitted he may have played his last game if there isn't a new collective bargaining agreement in place by September.

"I just kind of sit and wait," the Nepean native said. "I try to be objective, and as a guy who is still playing, I understand the league's concerns. I know what's been offered to the players. I'm at the end of my career, whether I play again or not, I know the players just want a fair deal.

ADDRESSING PROBLEMS

"The (NHLPA) has put forth a concept that will allow the league to be successful. Whereas what the players have been offered, if they took it, it's totally selling out the players who are coming into the game in the future. This isn't the (union) saying: 'We want as much as we can make. Tough luck and we want to get out of Dodge.' We've tried to address the problems and begin negotiations. The league doesn't want to negotiate. They have what they want."

Yzerman said the NHLPA isn't out to soak the owners.

"The players aren't looking to win," said Yzerman. "The players are looking to get a decent deal. If we wanted to win, so to speak, we'd offer up no luxury tax, no change in arbitration, not eliminate entry-level salaries or a rollback. What we're trying to do is maintain some semblance of a system that will allow players to negotiate a reasonable deal."

Yzerman, who was working out with a group of players that included Senators centre Bryan Smolinski, said he's accepted the fact that he might not play another NHL game.

"A lot of older guys felt that we would play up until the end of (the last) CBA," said Yzerman. "We all knew what could happen. We knew that our final year could have been last season. You don't script the end of your career. You play as long as can and as long as you can be satisfied, then you retire."

WHOLE NEW LOOK

Yzerman thinks the league will have a much different look if the lockout last two seasons.

"We're not going to be playing this year," said Yzerman. "Everybody is predicting this (will) go into the future ... beyond the start of the next year. You've got to think that it will be resolved by next January. I think the league can survive one year, but if two years go by, you're basically talking about a brand new league. If it does go that long, it is a brand new league. That's not a good thing ... despite what the owners might say."


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