Senators disagree on CBA progress

It’s funny how some people can hear exactly the same thing and come away with entirely different reactions. Such was the case for Ottawa Senators players on Monday. They gathered around a cell phone during the 90-minute bus trek here from the Bell Sensplex late Monday afternoon, listening as NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr provided an update from clandestine weekend meetings with the NHL, aimed at reaching a solution to the NHL lockout.

CORNWALL, Ont — It’s funny how some people can hear exactly the same thing and come away with entirely different reactions.

Such was the case for Ottawa Senators players on Monday.

They gathered around a cell phone during the 90-minute bus trek here from the Bell Sensplex late Monday afternoon, listening as NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr provided an update from clandestine weekend meetings with the NHL, aimed at reaching a solution to the NHL lockout.

Opinions ranged from Zack Smith’s hope to the cautious optimism of Chris Phillips and Marc Methot to the decidedly pessimistic attitude of Daniel Alfredsson.

“A lot of players feel we can reach a deal, it’s getting closer,” Smith said, before taking the ice for Monday’s charity game in Cornwall. “It’s crunch time where we need get something done to salvage the season.”

Phillips and Methot were encouraged that the talking – deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA second-in-command Steven Fehr – met into the wee hours Sunday morning – will lead to further discussions this week.

“There wasn’t any formal proposal or anything, they were just bouncing ideas off each other,” said Phillips. “But I’m more optimistic than not, given what’s happened in the last couple of days.”

Methot echoed those comments. “Anytime there’s a little more dialogue, there’s a lot more reason for optimism. Hopefully, they can keep this going.”

When asked if it’s important to get a deal completed within the next two weeks to salvage the season, Methot nodded. “I would even say maybe this next week is crucial,” he said.

Alfredsson, however, disagreed.

“If nothing happens (in the next 10 days), it’s not doomsday, but the sooner the better,” he said. “I still think there’s time to get something done (after that).”

The Senators captain was also not reading too much into the weekend discussions.

“Until we get something substantial to work on, I’m not too optimistic,” Alfredsson said.

While he acknowledges that it’s sometimes a good sign that the NHL and the players’ association are talking in the same room together, he cautions that “if you have two sides with totally different opinions, they can also just butt heads.”

Considered all together, it certainly sounds like the glass is half full. Or maybe half empty.

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