Senator wants to see red

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

Red is Martin Havlat's colour of choice.

The Senators winger has joined a chorus of players who are saying publicly and privately they don't want the centre-ice red line removed when hockey resumes play.

While an 11-man committee -- which includes NHLers Trevor Linden, Brendan Shanahan, Rob Blake and Jarome Iginla -- wants the red line gone, many are balking at the idea.

"I don't know how you can have four guys making the decisions for all the players in the league," Havlat told the Sun yesterday. "Before it was the GMs who made all the rule changes without any input from the players.

"Now, you've got these guys making all the decisions. We're players in the league as well. Shouldn't we have a say on the changes that are made? I don't think removing the red line would be a good thing for the game. I know that it has not worked in Europe, but there are no European players on the committee."

MASSIVE FAILURE

Havlat isn't the first to state that the removal of the red line is a bad idea. A league executive told the Sun on the weekend that "the movement" to make the major change to the game must be stopped.

The committee is under the impression it will open up the game and create more flow.

Havlat, who played in Russia and the Czech Republic last season, said the experiment has been a massive failure overseas.

"What you have now (are) teams lining up at the blue line trying to defend against the rush. You don't have any forechecking and there's no room in the neutral zone. At least with the trap, you have some guys attacking to make things happen," said Havlat.

"That's not going to happen. There aren't going to be any more breakaways if you take away the red line. It's going to be even worse on a smaller ice surface because there's less room to move out there.

"I'm not just saying this because I'm a Czech, but I think they went with no red line five years ago and now they're putting it back in because it hasn't worked. I really don't think that doing this would be a good move for the NHL."

LIVING IN MONTREAL

Havlat, who has hired a personal trainer and is living in Montreal this summer, is in town with other top prospects from the Octagon Hockey Group working out this week at the University of Ottawa. Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, former 67's forward Lukas Kaspar and Minnesota's Pascal Dupuis are among the participants.


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