Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hainsey eager to get back to playing

Jet set for fan reaction, come what may

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For his part in the NHL lockout and negotiations that required 113 days to resolve the dispute, NHLPA bargaining committee member Ron Hainsey sounded confident in his contribution.

And the Winnipeg Jets defenceman also sounded ready for whatever the fans or the public want to throw his way in the coming days.

"I'm not expecting much," Hainsey said Wednesday, his first day back in Winnipeg and on the ice in an informal workout with many of his teammates. "I think the players appreciated what the group of players who were there went through, did, until the end.

"The public perception of it is going to be negative because we took the game four months past where the season should have started. I understand that. I assume nobody's going to be happy about that.

"I don't have a great answer. I wish it was done sooner so we didn't miss a day. Unfortunately it wasn't. This is my first true foray into a serious business situation and from what I have they don't always work out on time.

"It's up to us as players to go out there and put the best season on for the fans."

Hainsey said he won't be thrown if there are catcalls his way.

"It wouldn't shock me in any way," he said. "Hopefully we can get out there and put on a great show right away and move past this as quickly as possible."

The veteran NHL blue-liner said his message to fans going forward should be clear.

"The first message is we're sorry we couldn't get it done on time, so we could have started on time," he said. "But now our focus has to be putting on a great 48 games and putting on an entertaining Stanley Cup playoff and hopefully helping everyone forget we went down this road."

Hainsey said he's got no current worries about lockout ramifications on his future.

"Not really," he said. "These things, it took on a life of its own over the six, seven months. You have days when you don't get along with the other side, you have days where you do get a long with the other side, you have days where the press is blaming you, the press is blaming them, sometimes both on the same day depending what city you're reading in, so it's time for all of us to move on and help grow this game to where it was at the end of last season."

Hainsey said he's feeling just fine as far as his conditioning goes and said that won't be an issue by season's start a week from Saturday.

On Wednesday, for the on-ice workout at MTS Iceplex, he was wearing a Jets jersey, while all his teammates were still in NHLPA logos.

"We were out of NHLPA jerseys," he laughed afterwards. "We had six dark guys, three white jerseys. I had that one from the summer. Nothing special there."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2013 D4

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