VANCOUVER — Seven locked-out NHL players skating at UBC Tuesday were asked the same question: Did you take advantage of last week's 48-hour window to call your owner or general manager to discuss the league's last proposal?
Their answers were a resounding 'huh?', which was usually followed by a smirk.
“This was last Thursday and Friday?” responded Tanner Glass, the former Vancouver Canuck winger and now a Pittsburgh Penguin. “The only time I've spoken to the GM was on July 1 when he signed me. I don't have his personal cel.”
“I didn't get the memo,” said Stanley Cup champion Willie Mitchell of the L.A. Kings. “They should have fired that out on twitter.”
“No, I didn't phone,” replied Canuck defenceman Dan Hamhuis. “I understand their proposal. Maybe they need some clarification on ours.”
And so it went.
Manny Malhotra: “Wow! I was unaware of that. It's news to me.”
Daniel Sedin: “I haven't heard about that, no. The guys know what's going on. There is no need for me to call them.”
Chris Higgins: “It seems like both sides have been banging their heads against the wall anyway so I don't know what that would have changed, to be honest.”
Cory Schneider: “If they did that, we weren't informed. If they just told each other, we didn't know about it. I don't know who was looking to call a GM or an owner at this point.”
Of the seven players polled Tuesday, only Malhotra mentioned that he might have picked up his phone to give Canuck GM Mike Gillis a ring. Malhotra and Schneider are members of the NHLPA bargaining committee.
“I think possibly I would have called Mike to see his views,” Malhotra said. “He's very open-minded about things and obviously has the advantage of being a former agent so he can see it from both sides.”
The league memo stated if a team was contacted by player – “we understand that some of you are” – the team was only permitted to “express the views and opinions of the club and league” concerning the proposal on the table.
OPTIONS OPEN: Agent Mike Liut, who represents Schneider, is exploring possible landing spots in Europe for his client. Schneider has maintained since the start of the lockout that a North American goalie might not find the larger European ice surface beneficial.
“My agent is out there talking to teams seeing what available and he's just waiting to hear from them,” said Schneider. “I haven't given him the green light to go out and try to find something. Nothing is imminent.”
NET WORTH: Schneider and Maple Leaf counterpart James Reimer were treated to some goalie-specific coaching Tuesday when Eli Wilson, once of the Ottawa Senators and now based in Abbotsford, came to UBC to work with them. Apparently they needed it, too.
“It was definitely a good workout, I was pretty tired at the end,” commented Schneider. “It's hard to simulate that kind of stuff in just a practice or shinny so I thought it was great of him to come out and give us his time. It helps push what you can do. I mean, sometimes it's easy to just do the drills and play shinny and not work on little things on your own. This gives you that extra motivation and forces you to work on the things you might forget.”
BIRD BIT: During their exile, the locked out players have occasionally skated with the UBC Thunderbirds in joint practices. Perhaps that's spurred the T-Birds to a 4-1-1 start in Canada West and a national ranking at No. 10. UBC plays host to the first-place Saskatchewan Huskies this Friday and Saturday at the Father Bauer rink.
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