With the current NHL work stoppage, Coyotes’ captain Shane Doan and goaltenders Mike Smith and Jason LaBarbera have plenty of time on their hands.
So Saturday, the three Coyotes’ players made their way to Chase Field for a little batting practice session before the Cubs-Diamondbacks game.
While Doan said he is more than relieved to be finishing his career in Phoenix, after signing a four-year, $21.2 million dollar deal on Sept. 14, all the veteran right winger wants to do right now is to get back to playing hockey.
“As a player, we understand there are certain things [the owners] want,” Doan said. “And as a player, we think that if they want us to share the amount we’ve made, they need to share with each other. That’s one of the biggest parts of this. If they aren’t even willing to share with each other, it makes it very hard to ask the players to cover everything.”
Although LaBarbera is the team’s player representative, Doan is on one of the league’s negotiating committees and says he is very active during post-negotiation conference calls.
This is not the first time in recent years the NHL has locked out its players. Back in 2004, the league lost an entire season due to a work stoppage.
“The league is made up of 30 teams and individual groups,” said Doan. “We all feed off each other, because we play each other. The whole league needs to be stronger, and we want that.
“The players in our last agreement gave a lot. In this agreement we are willing to help out, but [the owners] have to help out each other too.”
Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr met for the second straight day behind closed doors in New York City Saturday, a day after the league cancelled the remainder of the preseason.
The regular season was scheduled to begin Oct. 11.
Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report