Will Linden hit the post again?

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Trevor Linden could be living on borrowed time as president of the NHL Players' Association.

The Canucks winger has been at the top of the union since 1993 and requires re-election next June.

But after a year-long lockout and plenty of controversy surrounding the hiring of current executive director Ted Saskin, Linden's not sure he's going to run again.

"I just don't know. I haven't thought about it a lot and that's a decision I'll make later in the year," Linden told the Sun before last night's game against the Senators.

"I will say one thing: This has been a tough year. I knew going into this that when we got a final result (in negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement), we were not going to make everybody happy. That's just the way it is. I completely understand that.

"I know some guys aren't happy, but I feel a majority of the guys would just tell you they are happy to be back on the ice playing hockey after everything we went through last year."

Linden admitted he isn't pleased with how a group of players has tried to get Saskin ousted. The group, led by former PA vice-president Trent Klatt, has made its battle public by going to the U.S. National Labour Relations Board.

"I know we need to look at our constitution and make some changes, but I feel this all could have been handled internally and a majority of the players who I have spoken with feel the same way," said Linden.

"You're going to have a lot of different opinions when you have 700 players involved and I can understand that. I just felt that we could have handled this ourselves without having all these things public."

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, a vice-president on the union's executive committee who has already declared he won't run for re-election, said he will understand if Linden decides to step down from the post.

"I can tell you that it's a lot of work for (Linden)," said Alfredsson.

"I really think he does a great job for the players. He's been really dedicated to it and last year was tough for everybody."

AROUND THE BOARDS: Senators D Wade Redden wasn't ready to return last night against the Canucks, but he could suit up tonight in Calgary. Redden said the sprained knee -- which generally takes 2-4 weeks to heal -- is feeling better and he'll see how it feels after going for a skate this morning at the Pengrowth Saddledome. "I just knew with the way it was feeling (Thursday) that I wasn't going to be able to play (last night)," said Redden. "I missed (10 days) on the ice and that can be tough. It's kind of funny, you feel strong and then you go out there and it's not quite the same." Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said Redden will be back when he's ready. "That's a decision only he can make and he told me he's not ready," said Murray ... The Senators held their rookie dinner at a Vancouver restaurant on Wednesday. Christoph Schubert, Ray Emery, Brandon Bochenski, Andrej Meszaros, Brian McGrattan and Chris Kelly were each responsible for parts of the bill. "It was pretty good," said Meszaros. "Paying the bill is something you have to do once in your career." ... The Senators won't return to Vancouver until the 2008-09 season. Under the NHL's new scheduling system, the Senators play each division in the other conference only once every three years. "I know that people here like seeing the Eastern teams come in," said Canucks coach Marc Crawford.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com


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