Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

For Zach, it's all about the money

Bogosian skating, but still no Jets contract No qualms about playing in Winnipeg -- if price is right

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Money and money alone is at the heart of any friction between Zach Bogosian and the Winnipeg Jets.

Bogosian said all the right things on Monday, which is well and fine, but only goes to underscore that cash is what his agent Bob Murray and Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff are going round and round over.

So no, location is not the sticking point. The length of a deal may also be at issue but when it all comes down to it, money is the only thing grinding the gears between Bogosian and the Jets.

The 21-year-old, who arrived in Winnipeg on Sunday and skated at MTS Iceplex on Monday, wants to be paid at a certain level and the Jets want to pay him less. Depending on who one talks to, the two parties are either getting close or remain far apart.

"We continue to work towards an agreement and I'm confident something will be in place soon," was the latest lukewarm offering on the subject from Cheveldayoff.

With training camp opening on Saturday and Bogosian now on the ice with his teammates there will be increased focus and pressure on these negotiations. Opening camp without the player in-house would be difficult for both sides to swallow. Bogosian is here and ready to go and skating in Jets colours sans contract. He's doing his part to inch things along.

"It's ongoing just like Chevy says. I'm here for a reason and that's because I want to be here and I want to play here," said Bogosian, minutes after an informal workout with his teammates.

It's one thing to skate with his teammates prior to training camp but if a deal isn't reached by Saturday it's unlikely Bogosian will take part in any workouts. "I'm not even thinking about that. I think there's a will to get something done and I hope it does," said Bogosian, who has spent three years in the NHL and is one of three young defenders without deals right now, the other two being Luke Schenn of the Leafs and the L.A. Kings' all-star Drew Doughty.

"It's good to be here but Saturday is coming quick. It's something you think about... but I'm optimistic something will get done by then."

Bogosian admitted last season was not what he had hoped for in terms of personal and team play as he scored five goals and 12 assists while posting a minus-27 mark over 71 games.

"I'd be the first one to admit I didn't have the greatest season," he said. "I'm young and I'm always up to learning new things."

Bogosian was taken third overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft but in 199 games has only 24 goals and 35 assists with a career minus-34 mark. It's difficult at this point to pin down what he is as a player and what he'll become. Not an easy position for the player or management.

For Bogosian, arriving in Winnipeg has given him a look at what is in store if and when he can officially sign.

"Landing here in Winnipeg you can feel the energy and you see all the guys walking around the airport in Jets gear and it gets you excited," said Bogosian. "I wouldn't come here if I didn't want to be here. I'm not obligated to be here until training camp begins."

No doubt being the first player to engage in a protracted negotiation with Jets management presents its own challenges.

Cheveldayoff wants to be seen as fair but also tough. The Bogosian contract sets a precedent for agents to work off in the future, which puts extra emphasis on the deal.

But not having a young defender with lots of upside signed by the start of camp is a negative the organization would like to avoid.

Money, some say, fixes everything.

But if you're Cheveldayoff and judged by spending habits, prudence is a good practice.

Follow the money, said Deep Throat.

And that's exactly what we'll all be doing on this deal.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

and he plays hockey, too D2

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 13, 2011 D1

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

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