Canadiens legend Guy Lafleur hasn’t given up hope on NHL hockey being played this season.
“I’m confident that they’re going to solve the problems, hopefully before Christmas,” Lafleur told reporters at a media event Tuesday for the Tour des Canadiens condo tower project adjacent to the Bell Centre.
“I really believe that they’re going to start in January. “
However, if the dispute isn’t resolved in November or December, Lafleur said: “I don’t know if they’re going to have a season. And I don’t think the NHL can afford not to have a season or any owners in the league.”
Lafleur spoke briefly at the event, where details were announced about the 534-unit condo development. (The Canadiens are a partner in the project.) But the questions directed at him afterward by reporters were almost all about the lockout.
Lafleur, who is in the restaurant buisness, said he isn’t the only one adversely affected by the absence of hockey.
“You reduce (staff) hours,” he said.
He also said he doesn’t think it’s “normal” that the players are making more than the owners. The two sides should sit down, finalize a deal and make the fans happy because they’re the ones paying big money to see teams play, he added.
“What’s amazed me is you have maybe 75 to 100 players that are making maybe over $2.5-$3 million dollars a year,” Lafleur said.
The rest, he added, earn salaries between $1 million and $2.5 or $3 million.
“And these guys they don’t say a word,” Lafleur said. “They have confidence that they’re going to solve the problems. But a lot of guys that are (among) the 450 players that are playing maybe their last year or they have two years left and that’s going to hurt them a lot if they don’t finalize (a deal)
“These guys they should stand up and talk about their future because they might lose a lot on money in the two years they’re going to miss.”
You can read more about the Tour des Canadiens condo by clicking here.
Meanwhile La Tournee des Joueurs featuring locked-out NHLers playing exhibition games continues on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Chicoutimi’s Centre Georges-Vezina and there will be another game on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Palais des sports de Jonquiere. Canadiens players expected to take part in the two games include Josh Gorges, Francis Bouillon, Brian Gionta, David Desharnais, Travis Moen and Brandon Prust.
The AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs visit the Rochester Americans on Tuesday at 7:35 p.m. at First Niagara Center in Buffalo and then play host to the Toronto Marlies on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Copps Coliseum. All Bulldogs games during the month of October will be broadcast on Montreal’s TSN Radio 690. Fans can also listen to and watch all ‘Dogs games online at hamiltonbulldogs.com.
(Photo by Peter McCabe/The Gazette)