LOWELL — Several Bruins players weighed in on the NHL’s situation regarding the collective bargaining agreement prior to Milan Lucic‘s Rock & Jock softball game Wednesday night. Among the things discussed were their potential plans for the coming season in the event that there is a lockout. The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire on Sept. 15.
Lucic hasn’t been able to attend any meetings thus far, but he said he has paid close attention to the negotiations between the league and the players’ association. Executives from the league and NHLPA, including league commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, met in Toronto Wednesday, but got nowhere. The negotiations were cancelled before they began, and the two sides will meet again Thursday.
“Obviously there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be resolved,” Lucic said. “There’s a lot of issues that are being talked about and there’s a lot of things that from a player and a union standpoint, that we want and obviously from an owner’s standpoint, what they want. You’ve heard Don and Gary talk about it, that there’s still a wide gap between the two sides coming together. Like I said, hopefully it can get resolved sooner than later, but from a union standpoint and a player standpoint, we’re just trying to make sure we get a fair deal and have whatever’s right.”
Dennis Seidenberg played in the AHL during the 2004-05 lockout, but he hinted at playing in his native Germany next season if the NHL isn’t an option. One draw of playing in Germany would be the opportunity to play with his younger brother, Yannic, who is a forward for Adler Mannheim of the German Hockey League.
“Well, my brother plays in Germany, so it would be nice to play with him if it gets to that point,” Seidenberg said, “but for now I haven’t put enough thought into it to say what I’m going to do.”
Added Seidenberg: “It would be nice to play with him again, but I hope it’s not going to happen.”
Finland native Tuukka Rask said he also isn’t sure where he’d play, but did say it’s unlikely that he would play in Finland. Tim Thomas played in Finland during the 2004-05 lockout.
“I’m sure a lot of guys are thinking Russia and stuff like that, but I don’t think I’d go to Finland,” Rask said. “Maybe I’d try something new, because I played in Finland and I know what it is. Nothing against the league or anything, but maybe I’d try something else.”
Lucic said he knows he might have to consider alternative plans for next season, but he isn’t doing so yet.
“I’m still hopeful that there will be a season,” Lucic said. “‘¦ I’m still hopeful that hockey will be played [in the NHL] this season, but that’s something that I’m going to have to think about and make a decision on at a later date.”
Another noteworthy bit of information from the players is that they still plan on having informal practices in early September, as they do each season.
“I’ve talked to a lot of guys on the team, and it seems like a lot of guys are coming back — especially the ones with kids going to school — as if everything’s going to plan,” Lucic said. “The CBA only lasts until September 15, so we don’t have much time even if we do start in Wilmington, but definitely for us guys that are on the Bruins and are here in Boston, we’ll definitely be skating together and doing whatever until whatever needs to be resolved.”