NHL's rejection angers Sens

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

TORONTO -- Shock. Anger. Disappointment. That's the way Senators' players were feeling last night as word filtered throughout the hockey world that the two sides in the NHL's labour dispute were nowhere close to an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.

"I don't know if the league realizes how unified this makes us," said Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson last night.

Many were convinced the 24% salary rollback offered by the NHL Players' Associatiion last week would be enough to get a deal done.

But they were upset to hear NHL commissioner Gary Bettman won't budge in his battle to impose a salary cap.

"I don't know what more we have to do for the owners," said defenceman Wade Redden from Edmonton. "We can't be held accountable for all of their actions. I thought we made a very good offer to get this done.

"If they want a salary cap and that's all they are willing to offer, then what are we supposed to do? If it comes down to a cap vs. no cap, we've made it clear we're not going to accept a cap.

"Now, who knows what's going to happen?"

The players weren't happy with the union's offer of the 24% cut in the first place, but they backed the move by executive director Bob Goodenow and his executive committee because they wantto get back on the ice.

"I would say what we proposed is our last and best offer," said Senators defenceman Curtis Leschyshyn. "I wasn't expecting that kind of rollback, but I thought we were doing what it took to have a season.

"I know a lot of the players are not going to be happy with what's happening and the route that Gary Bettman is taking. There's going to be no love lost between Gary Bettman and the players because we feel we have done everything we can to have a season.

"We gave them a chance to have a year and it just seems like we've taken a step back."


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