Smith won't point fingers over deal

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

If there's a call for the head of NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow from within the rank and file, Edmonton Oilers captain and player rep Jason Smith hasn't heard it, nor does he see the need for one.

"I'm comfortable with our committee and the steps that we went through during this whole process," Smith said.

"I was informed several years ago we could miss this whole year. There's no way to predict where the negotiation of any deal is going to fall ahead of time, but this is the way things fell. I'm not going to point fingers at anybody for it."

Goodenow's future with the NHLPA was a matter of rampant speculation leading into yesterday's vote by the players, with people from inside and outside the union suggesting he would or should take the fall for losing the entire 2004-05 season for the deal players overwhelmingly ratified.

"I'm not knocking guys who have another opinion about how the committee and Bob handled certain things, but I don't have a problem with it," said Ryan Smyth.

"The hours and the effort were put in. I think he's done a tremendous job.

"We're getting this game back on the ice where it belongs."

Goodenow was somewhat vague about his future when asked about it at a news conference in Toronto yesterday.

However, he did point out that he's under contract and intends to move forward as union boss.

He's been criticized by high-profile players like Jeremy Roenick and fringe NHLers like Sean Avery, who suggested players had been "brainwashed" and kept in the dark by Goodenow and the executive committee about details of contract negotiations.

"I know I've been informed and that I've had questions along the way and they've been answered," Smith said.

"Whether it was something I wanted to hear or not, I was kept informed.

"There may have been cases where guys didn't put in the time and effort to keep informed, but that opportunity was readily available.

"That's been a part of the process. "There's nobody to blame."


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