Maple Leafs' Kidd preparing for year-long stoppage
Told to expect the worst: 'My own option would be to head back home'
Monday, January 12, 2004
TORONTO - Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Trevor Kidd has issued perhaps the most ominous warning about the pending labour skirmish between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association.
"We've had numerous meetings with the association and have been told [as players] to be prepared for a minimum one-year [labour disruption]," Kidd said. "And if it goes a full year, we've been told that it could go to Christmas of the following season, and perhaps even two years. That shouldn't come as a surprise to any player around the league. The vast majority of us are making plans on the basis that there will be no hockey next season and perhaps longer."
The NHL's collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight on Sep. 14, and almost all indications point to an ugly scrap between the players and owners -- one that would dwarf the half-season disruption of 1994-95. Sources claim there is a lone issue at play. The NHL owners are insisting on a hard salary cap, while the players -- led by NHLPA executive-director Bob Goodenow -- will have no part of such an arrangement. This stalemate has effectively stymied formal communication between the two sides in recent months.