Alfredsson, Leeder disagree over lockout progress

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson sees no resolution to the NHL lockout in sight and mused about having possibly played his last NHL game. Senators president Cyril Leeder is encouraged that negotiations between owners and players are continuing and believes some progress has already been made. Talk about a study in contrasts.

Alfredsson, Leeder disagree over lockout progress
Over 500 business and community leaders from around Ottawa joined honourary Co-Chairs Daniel Alfredsson and Graham Richardson for The Royal’s 5th Annual Leaders for Mental Health Breakfast at the Hampton Inn. (Pat McGrath/Ottawa Citizen)

Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson sees no resolution to the NHL lockout in sight and mused about having possibly played his last NHL game.

Senators president Cyril Leeder is encouraged that negotiations between owners and players are continuing and believes some progress has already been made.

Talk about a study in contrasts. About the only thing Alfredsson and Leeder agreed on Wednesday was the value of staying involved in community causes while the games are on hold.

After speaking at the Leaders for Mental Health breakfast, Alfredsson adopted a decidedly pessimistic tone regarding negotiations towards a new collective bargaining agreement.

“There’s no deal that’s going to be done in the short term here, so we’re looking at being locked out for a period of time, I think,” he said.

Alfredsson, who turns 40 in December, understands the implications of a lengthy lockout.

“I went through the lockout the last time (in 2004-05) and I’m a different stage of my career and I feel the same now as I did then,” he said. “Even if this would turn out to be a whole season and I wouldn’t play again, that’s fine with me. I’m just a small piece of the puzzle. But I’d love to play again.”

Leeder, meanwhile, sees optimism in the fact that representatives for the owners and players met through last weekend and that they could pick up negotiations again in the next few days.

“I feel good that we continue to talk and have meetings,” said Leeder, who, along with former players Jason York and Shean Donovan, delivered 20 turkeys to the Ottawa Mission on Daly St. “It has been said a number of times, that back (during the lockout in 2004 and 2005), there were long gaps between getting together.”

While the owners and players remain far apart on the main issue — how to divide up the league’s $3.3 billion in annual revenues — Leeder says the sides have also been discussing all the other elements involved in a new CBA.

“I think all the ground has been covered and they will be able to get to the points of a deal fairly quickly, once that willingness (to make a deal) is there,” he said. “There is a lot of detail that goes into a collective bargaining agreement. It’s thousands of pages, not tens of pages, so you need to cover that ground. Even if you reached agreement on the key economic points, you’ve still got a lot of detail to cover.”

On Tuesday, NHL vice-president Bill Daly said the cancellation of the entire exhibition schedule had resulted in the loss of $100 million in revenues. Leeder says his chief concern is for the people who have been directly effected by the lockout, including the staff in the Senators offices. Some have been laid off for the duration of the lockout. Others have seen their work weeks reduced from five days to four, with a pay cut to match.

“The real sad part is the people that are affected,” he said. “The staff and the people that are involved, that rely on hockey for their livelihood. That really is the biggest casualty and there is a lot of economic impact that gets lost there and, of course, there is revenue that is being lost from both the teams and players side.”

Leeder says there are no plans for further cuts to Senators staff. At least for now.

“That something that, the longer it goes, we’ll have to reconsider that in the future.”

kwarren@ottawacitizen.com
Twitter.com/Citizenkwarren

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