LAS VEGAS, NV The looming CBA negotiations elicited different reactions across the group of NHL stars at the Wynn Resort and Casino readying for Wednesday nights NHL Awards ceremony.
Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk wasnt hiding his concern for the good of the game and the ultimate winners and losers: hockey fans.
Of course Im worried about it, said Datsyuk when asked about the CBA. The last lockout was really bad for the fans. If it happened again it would be a bad, bad thing for the fans.
While CBA negotiations that havent yet begun but will in the not too distant future according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman the concern is tempered in most corners by a hope it wont come to that.
NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr is a deal maker as termed by Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli. But hes also an adversary for Bettman that isnt going to budge on an unfavorable deal for the players.
Both Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron lived through the last lockout. (The 19-year-old Bergeron even had to play the lockout season in the AHL as a member of the Providence Bruins.) Both are hopeful that something will be worked out.
The Bs captain said hell be ramping up his offseason workouts to be ready for duty by mid-September as he always does.
"I think its still pretty early to be calculating when or if something is going to happen," said Chara, who said hed be more hands-on in his involvement with CBA talks if hes asked by the NHLPA.
"I think its going to get done. But well see. Anything can happen. Like any negotiation it can be smooth, or it can be a really tough one. Well wait and see. Right now my plans are to go back to Europe and see if Im going to be approached to be involved more. Ill make that decision if Im asked, but I think its always good to have more players involved."
Bergeron also showed optimism about the upcoming CBA discussions that will fill the rest of the hockey news for the summer once July 1 and free agency has come and gone. The 27-year-old said hed get deeply involved in the negotiations if hes asked to by the players union.
"Im a little bit older than the first (CBA) that I went through and I think I know a little more thats going on," he said. "But I dont want to be the one talking through the media and putting his foot in his mouth. If Im asked Ill definitely get involved, but I have full confident in Don Fehr and his team.
"He wanted everybody to have the confidence in him before he joined the NHLPA, and that right there shows that guys are more aware and understand whats going on."
Hopefully that involvement means a deal gets done before the Sept. 15 expiration date for the current collective bargaining agreement, but nobody will have certainties until Bettman and Fehr start talking turkey.