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Locked-out Lundqvist finally finds game to play

Associated Press Modified: November 22, 2012 at 10:31 am •  Published: November 22, 2012
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"Just a couple of nights skating. It's not ideal, obviously, but it is what it is."

A glimmer of optimism that arose this week when the NHL and the players' association got together twice for negotiations was dashed on Wednesday when the league quickly rejected an offer it said it was eagerly awaiting. The NHL has already canceled all games through November and the highly popular outdoor Winter Classic. All-Star weekend is very close to being lost along with another round of games.

"I'm kind of tired of hearing that they're getting together," he said. "We need progress here. I don't know what to say now. The first couple of weeks you hope it's going to end fast, and now you've had two months of talking.

"It doesn't really matter. We just have to figure it out here with the owners and come to a solution. Everybody is suffering, from the fans, the players, people working with the game. It's not necessary. The game is strong enough that we should be able to figure it out."

Lundqvist has rolled with the ups and downs of the lockout that began in September, when the previous collective bargaining agreement between the players' association and the NHL expired. He hasn't signed up to play in Europe or anywhere else, but if a deal isn't reached soon, he might have to change his plans.

He just never thought the lockout would be going on this long.

"It's important that we try to give back to different communities and to the fans, but to us players, we miss the game a lot. We do," Lundqvist said. "This is our lives. There is a business side to this sport; there is no way around it. When it comes down to just playing the game, I miss the lifestyle, I miss traveling and playing the games and having the adrenaline.

"It's just such a big part of my life. It's definitely been a weird two months here not having that. That's why it's a lot of fun to get together and play the game."

The NHL generated record revenues of $3.3 billion last season when Lundqvist and the Rangers reached the Eastern Conference finals. Instead of being back on the ice to shoot for another run at the Stanley Cup, the star goalie is in a holding pattern he can't escape.

"I have all the emotions," Lundqvist said. "I have some anger, disappointment, some embarrassment, too. I understand that the fans are disappointed, and it's hard to explain the whole situation. I don't think a lot of people know all the details and how much we really sacrificed to try to come closer to the owners. It doesn't really matter. They deserve the game out there to be played right now. I definitely feel a little embarrassment that we can't figure it out sooner."