Alfredsson has paid his dues

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

A year ago today, Daniel Alfredsson -- along with his NHL-playing brethren -- was locked out by the league as the long fight for a new collective bargaining agreement began.

This morning, the Senators captain -- a VP on the NHL Players' Association executive committee -- will sit down in the dressing room to conduct a vote on whether Ted Saskin is the right man to lead the union.

While secret ballots -- like the one being conducted by the Senators -- are expected to back Saskin when the voting is completed Sunday, many players aren't sure why this is even happening.

STRONG SUPPORT

"I'm sure everybody is going to support Ted Saskin because he is the right man for the job," Alfredsson said yesterday. "He did a good job for us in the collective bargaining agreement negotiations and I believe everybody wants to move forward."

But this issue isn't about Saskin and nobody has any doubt about the job he can do as a replacement for Bob Goodenow, who was unceremoniously fired shortly after a new CBA was signed with the NHL.

Recently retired winger Trent Klatt -- and a group of NHLers that includes Detroit's Chris Chelios and Minny's Dwayne Roloson -- started this movement because they didn't agree with the process used by NHLPA president Trevor Linden to install Saskin as union leader.

Klatt, who was a VP with Alfredsson on the seven-member executive, believes the NHLPA's hiring of Saskin didn't abide by the union's constitution which calls for a secret ballot by the player reps -- which is being held now.

"If they had this vote in the first place, then there wouldn't be the upheaval there is right now," said one player who requested anonymity. "Some guys don't like the process that was used. The problem is a lot of guys are just sick of any more talk about the union and they just want to move forward. They want to put this chapter behind us. We've already suffered enough embarrassment with what happened during the lockout."

During a conference call Monday, sources say Linden didn't say a word as Saskin made his views on the subject known and asked the players to hold the secret ballot.

"Ted wanted this vote to make sure everybody was on board. He had the support of the players on the conference call (Monday), but he thought we should have the vote so that everybody feels comfortable with him," said Alfredsson.

TO FINISH TERM

But even if the players do decide to give Saskin a new six-year contract with the ballot, they're not going to have Alfredsson around much longer. He said yesterday he's not going to run for re-election for the executive committee when his term is up next summer.

"I'm going to finish out this year and that will be good for me. It's time for somebody else to step in and do the job ... I've done it for three years. I'm going to step aside," said Alfredsson.

"I learned a lot in the last three years ... especially about the business side of hockey. I'm proud of the work I've done and I was glad to be involved. But I just think it's time for me to move on. This was a tough three years ... especially last year because nobody wanted to be locked out."


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