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NHL skaters at MTS Iceplex take cancellations in stride

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WINNIPEG -- NHLers skating at the MTS Iceplex didn't lash out at Thursday's cancellation of the first two weeks of the regular season.

Rather, they are still holding onto the belief there's a deal to be made between the NHL and the NHL Players Association.

"Obviously we kind of saw that coming with hearing nothing really came out of the meetings between the NHL and the PA," said Winnipegger Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils. "We kind of knew that was going to be the next step. It's part of the process.

"I still like our proposal is trying to fix the problems with the league right now. Hopefully the NHL and owners can see that and jump on board."

NHL players have been locked out since Sept. 15. All pre-season games were cancelled and now the regular season won't start on time.

No new negotiations are scheduled.

"I think everyone was hopeful they wouldn't cancel games but you could kind of see the writing on the wall there," said Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd, back at the Iceplex after a busy Thursday when he agreed to go to the KHL, then changed his mind. "It's an unfortunate situation we're in but as players we feel we have to stand our ground.

"At the end of the day, I think we're the only side that's given any concessions. They can say they've conceded from their original proposal but from our standpoint they've gone from 57 per cent to 47 per cent and tried to take away most of our contractual rights. For us that's a non-starter."

Ladd did say he held a little anger at Thursday's announcement that the first two weeks of the season is lost.

"Yeah, I think so, because there probably is a deal to be made there and they're trying to squeeze us for all they can get which is frustrating," he said. "Everyone knows we have a good thing going here. The league's as popular as ever. Teams are doing well. We know there are a few teams that are struggling but we think there's a way that we as players and the teams that are doing really well can help those teams and everyone can prosper."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

 

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