The last time Teemu Selanne made NHL lockout headlines, he wasn’t in nearly such a positive mood.
After the owners locked the players out back in mid-September, the respected NHL veteran wrote a sharply pointed blog on Finnish website MTV3.fi that called out league commissioner Gary Bettman and Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold.
Though he didn’t exactly let the owners off the hook, the Anaheim Ducks forward was decidedly more optimistic about league-union labour negotiations when he spoke to MTV3 Thursday, as he predicted the lockout will end on Monday, Jan. 7.
Selanne’s comments on the CBA were translated by Finnish hockey reporter Matias Strozyk, whose Twitter page features a photo of, yep, Selanne:
#NHLDucks Selänne to MTV3: “I think the lockout ends next Monday, the 7th, camps begin on the 10th and the 1st game is on the 18th or 19th.”
Monday represents a key date in CBA negotiations as the NHLPA has until then to respond to the league’s class-action complaint, which was filed last month.
The league’s complaint asked a federal court in Manhattan to make a declaration on the legality of the lockout. In the 43-page complaint, the NHL argued that the NHLPA was only using the “disclaimer of interest” as a bargaining tactic designed to “extract more favourable terms and conditions of employment.”
The NHL also filed an unfair labour practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.
The NHLPA has yet to file a disclaimer of interest and will need a second positive vote from its full membership if it wishes to do so.