Alzner frustrated as NHL lockout drags on
Former Hitmen star continues to bide his time practising in Calgary
“You ever tried selling something on Craigslist and the guy doesn’t want to bargain with you?” he says. “I had a guy offer me 700 bucks for a $1,300 bike one time. I said, ‘Are you kidding me? How am I supposed to bargain with you? No sale.’ ”
Alzner’s point being, negotiations are impossible unless both sides are willing to dicker.
And, in the mind of the Washington Capitals defenceman, the National Hockey League is refusing to meaningfully participate in any of its dealings with the NHL Players’ Association.
“The only part that bugs me? The whole (perception) of give-and-take, give-and-take, on both sides,” says Alzner. “It’s mainly just us that’s giving, and owners taking. We think that it’s fair in our eyes. There’s not a whole lot else that we can do if they’re not willing to accept an offer that we think is good. You have to say, ‘Oh well, let us know when you want to.’ ”
So here they are, stalemated.
The former Calgary Hitman is asked for his thoughts about Wednesday’s proposal by the NHLPA — and the NHL’s subsequent underwhelming response.
“Honestly? I don’t even have thoughts anymore,” says Alzner, with a chuckle. “I kind of let it happen. I’m kind of like a lot of the reporters and radio guys now — ‘Let me know when it’s done.’ I know the right thing’s going to get done in the end. I’m just waiting for it to happen, I guess.”
So it was, on Day 68 of the NHL’s latest lockout, Alzner and a still-significant contingent of players were dashing around WinSport’s Ice Complex.
Half of the 20 or so in attendance Thursday morning were members of the Calgary Flames. But after the on-ice session, Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri, simultaneously playing the nothing-positive-to-say card, declined interview requests.
Unhappiness appears to be membership-wide these days.
* You have active players referring to NHL leaders as “idiots” and as “cancers.”
“I think it’s mainly frustration,” says Alzner. “After a while, you just start saying things off the cuff. You don’t necessarily think them through. Whether that’s something you say in your basement with your buddies or out in the media, it’s what you feel. Guys are getting frustrated on both sides, and we’re the only ones who are allowed to speak. The owners aren’t.
“You won’t hear me call anyone names. At least, not in the media.”
* You have Roman Hamrlik griping about the lack of a deal, about the salary lost, about the leadership of Donald Fehr — and you have Erik Cole hotly firing back.
“The first thought that came into my head is knowing Roman and knowing what he’s like,” Alzner says of his Caps teammate. “I just had to laugh. Roman’s the kind of guy that just takes it as it comes. He says what’s on his mind. Whether he thinks it through all the time is another story. He just says it. If he doesn’t like practice, he lets you know. If he doesn’t like what you did in the game, he lets you know. I think it’s just frustration setting in.”
* You have the word “decertification” poking up its head.
“Before anything like that happens, we have to be well aware of what it means for us and for the union,” says Alzner. “I can’t comment too much on it. I don’t know enough about it to say it’s good or bad.
“But you know what? I like the union.”
C-NOTES: Friday, the QMJHL Gatineau Olympiques are retiring the (No. 20) jersey of Martin Gelinas, currently assistant coach of the Flames. In 132 games with the Olympiques, Gelinas managed to pile up 250 points.
Follow Scott Cruickshank on Twitter/CruickshankCH
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