Gionta says players have lost respect for Bettman
It was a scene that most seasons wouldn't raise an eyebrow among Montreal Canadiens fans: players conducting drills on the ice in Brossard. Except this isn't a typical season. On day two of the NHL lockout, the guys held an unofficial practice and a game of shinny. There were a few other familiar faces on the ice as well, in Benoit Pouliot and Steve Begin.
Habs goalie Carey Price said it wasn't exactly what he expected from a practice mid-September.
"We had a lot of everything going on out there." he laughed. "We had guys with no shoulder pads and no socks. We looked like a rec league team out there”
Formal negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA are only expected to resume Wednesday at the earliest.
And a lot of players are choosing to sign in Europe instead of waiting around for the two sides to come to a compromise. The list grew today to include Habs forward Tomas Plekanec who will suit up for HC Kladno in the Czech Republic, along with Jiri Tlusty of the Carolina Hurricanes and Jaromir Jagr of the Dallas Stars.
Ilya Kovalchuk, the Devils’ $100 million forward, has signed an agreement to play for SKA St. Petersburg, and expect to see San Jose Sharks captain Joe Thornton and New York Rangers forward Rick Nash joining HC Davos of the Swiss League.
While Price says it's important to keep up his skills through the lockout, he's waiting it out here in Montreal, at least for now.
“I don’t have any plans yet because we don’t know how long this is going to be. If we’re only going to be out for a month then I don’t think it would be very beneficial to go somewhere. But if we’re locked out for any length of time we might have to start looking for a place to stay sharp. Because going out there and doing that every day for a whole season, isn’t going to be good. You’ve got to get games. There’s nothing the same as playing a hockey game.”
Habs captain Brian Gionta says that with the process dragging on so long, NHL comissioner Gary Bettman has managed to lose the respect of the players.
“We look at his track record and it doesn’t bode well. He came out of the last lock out saying we needed to be partners and be in this together. And every time this comes up, he beats us down.”