VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Former NHL players' association president Trevor Linden is only an interested observer as another lockout rolls on.
"It's disappointing to see the game not being where it should be — and that's on the ice," Linden said Thursday. "I follow, but it's not my issue anymore. So I'm happy to be on the sidelines."
Linden made his comments around the same time league and NHLPA officials emerged from a second day of unsuccessful mediation efforts and Commissioner Gary Bettman proposed that leaders from both sides step aside from the talks and be replaced by owners and players.
The former Vancouver captain led the players union during the 2004-05 lockout that resulted in an entire season being scrapped for the first time in NHL history. He was active in the negotiations then and, in the following summer, helped negotiate an end to the dispute that led to the collective bargaining agreement that expired Sept. 15.
Linden, who retired in 2008 following 19 seasons with the Canucks, New York Islanders and Montreal Canadians, was reluctant to discuss the current lockout in detail, but shares the feeling of many fans. He faced heavy criticism from owners and players in 2004-05 as the standoff divided the NHLPA and led to the departure of union head Bob Goodenow.