WINNIPEG — Patience and a little self-control seemed to be the things that locked-out Winnipeg Jets players were asking of the fans this morning at the MTS Iceplex.
Several Jets and other NHL players have been gathering there three times a week to skate and work out while the NHL and NHLPA have been trying to work towards a new labour agreement. The start of the season has been delayed; all October and November games have so far been cancelled.
Though he’s not directly involved in the negotiations that have resumed in New York this week, Jets defenceman Mark Stuart was asked what he might convey to fans today.
"I think right now it’s feeling better about things than we were a few days or a week ago," Stuart said. "I think that as long as they’re communicating — they met for a good amount of time yesterday — then that’s something to be optimistic about. Beyond that, I don’t think you should look too far into it.
"The two sides are talking and as long as that’s happening, things are going in the right direction."
Jets captain Andrew Ladd also advocated for calm.
"I think in this process we’ve learned to be cautious about what transpires," Ladd said. "We’re kind of still in the wait-and-see mode."
Little has been said from either side about how things went Tuesday in New York.
That was fine with both Jets players.
"Honestly it doesn’t really matter to me either way," Ladd said. "I think we know what we want in a deal and we’re willing to do what it takes to get there. I think the important thing is that they’re still talking and that they’re continuing it today."
Said Stuart: "I don’t think they need to say anything publicly as long as they’re talking to each other and as long as the communication is there and going well. When the time is right, they’ll speak to the public and the media and let them know how things are going."