WINNIPEG - This is one of those times when silence is anything but golden.
After taking part in the regular Friday morning skate, Winnipeg Jets defenceman Mark Stuart expressed frustration in the latest suggestion from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman that the two sides take a two-week moratorium on negotiations.
“I don’t really understand it, I don’t know why there is not more urgency to get something done,” said Stuart. “A break right now sounds ridiculous to me. I wish more talks were going on.” This isn’t the time for a break really
Stuart certainly isn’t alone in that regard, but he understands the latest development is calculated.
“There are probably tactics to everything,” said Stuart. “I’m sure it’s part of some kind of strategy. ”
Jets centre Jim Slater was left scratching his head when he first heard about the idea.
“It’s not good,” said Slater. “Obviously, if you want to get something done, you have to talk about it. For them to come out and say we’re going to take a two-week break at one of the most crucial times in negotiations where we have to get something done just shows you who we’re negotiating with.
“It’s not easy.”
Jets captain Andrew Ladd was clearly disappointed by the latest turn of events.
“That’s not what we should be doing at this point,” said Ladd. “It doesn’t surprise me with them, I guess. Like we’ve said the whole time, it seems like they’re on a timeline and they haven’t really been willing to negotiate. If you look at how far we’ve come, just money-wise. They’ve really given no reason at all as to why they need these contractual issues, beside the fact they just want to control us a lot more.”
LINEUPS SET: The lineups are set for the Goals for Dreams Hockey Challenge, slated for Saturday at Max Bell Arena.
Team Andrew Ladd includes Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Bryan Little, Ryan Garbutt, Tanner Glass, Troy Brouwer, James Reimer, Shane Hnidy and Slater, while Team Mark Stuart features Chris Mason, Shea Weber, Brian Campbell, Mike Richards, Olli Jokinen, Ryan Reaves, Collin Wilson and Shane O’Brien, with Zach Bogosian serving as guest coach.
Stuart had the first overall selection and chose Mason, the former Jets netminder.
“Hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans,” said Stuart. “This (charity game) is very welcome. At least we can forget about (the lockout) for a few days, support a couple of great causes and selfishly, get together with some buddies and be able to play a little bit. It's going to be fun to play an organized game.”
Players will be on hand to sign autographs at 2 p.m., with puck drop slated for 3:30 p.m.
Tickets are no longer available as the game is officially sold out.
Proceeds from the game will go to the Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Dream Factory.