VANCOUVER - It appears Vancouver Canuck captain Henrik Sedin is out of both predictions and optimism when it comes to the NHL lockout, which is closing in on four numbing months.
“I'm hoping they can get it done but I've seen things happen that it wouldn't surprise me if it doesn't happen,” Henrik said Thursday after another lockout skate at UBC. “I think there is still some time left and we'll see what happens. It's positive they're talking but there might be a few more bumps. You have to have two parties who want to make a deal to get it done.”
At least Henrik feels he is physically ready if a season, accompanied by a short training camp, were to open in two weeks time.
“We've been prepared to start whenever it starts,” he replied. “Again, I don't want to get too hopeful.”
Manny Malhotra, a member of the NHLPA bargaining meeting, has been unable to travel back east to participate in meetings because his wife is due in a matter of weeks. However, he said he is in constant communication with the players who are there, as well as union executives Donald and Steve Fehr.
“I've basically kept up, hour to hour, if not minute to minute, during the meetings texting and talking to various guys,” Malhotra explained. “After putting in so many hours throughout the whole summer, it's not a matter of shutting it off just because I'm not in the room. I'm very much invested in this process.”
However, like Henrik Sedin, he is finished guessing when the lockout might end.
“I've stopped trying to make predictions and I've stopped trying to assume there is a date in mind,” Malhotra explained. “Obviously, logistically, to have that 48-game season (starting Jan. 19), we have to begin sometime soon so I guess that date would be approaching rather quickly. If it takes that long, it takes that long. If it happens sooner, all the better. But, by no means, am I going to try to predict when, or if, this is going to get done.”
Chris Higgins was reluctant to get overly excited about the current state of negotiations.
“I think, from what I've seen, it's getting a little bit closer but, until it's pen to paper, I'm not leaning one way or another,” he said. “Obviously I want to play and I hope a deal gets done within a week.”
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