Frustrated Crosby ponders playing in Europe as lockout continues

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PITTSBURGH - A visibly frustrated Sidney Crosby spoke negatively of last weekend’s unproductive labor negotiations in New York.

Crosby, who has made no secret that he badly wants to return to the ice — he has missed 101 games in the past two seasons because of concussions — said the breakdown in talks last weekend give him an ominous vibe regarding the potential of an NHL season taking place.

“I really want to be optimistic,” Crosby said following Monday’s workout at Southpointe. “It’s not easy right now. It’s a roller-coaster. One day you think there are great talks, then the next day they meet for five minutes and it’s done.”

Crosby has maintained for months that he will consider playing in Europe if the lockout continues for a long period. It is almost two months old, and his departure for Europe could be near.

“I think it’s fair to say the longer it goes, the more you ponder it,” Crosby said

Crosby maintained that the NHL hasn’t made enough concessions to make negotiations with the NHLPA worthwhile.

It remains unknown when the two sides will meet again, though the NHLPA has requested the next set of negotiations take place in Toronto instead of New York.

“It’s pretty one-sided,” Crosby said of the negotiations. “What have they given up to this point? They’re talking about taking away all the contracting rights. They’re not sure how they’re going to pay salaries. The questions I’d ask is why would we change that? I think we all think it’s the most competitive league in the world so why would you go and change that? The way contracts go and the way teams operate … if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Crosby simply shook his head when addressing the NHL’s assertion that NHLPA executive director Don Fehr has not given players the full details of the league’s proposals.

“That’s just tactics on their part,” Crosby said. “We’re pretty informed. If he (Fehr) didn’t want to (give us all the information), there’s 15 or 20 other guys who would have told us if that’s what he wanted to do.”

Crosby clearly is annoyed by the bickering that has taken place during meetings with the media during the lockout. He believes such talk should be kept to the negotiating table, not public consumption.

“If the league has anything to say,” Crosby said, “they should say it in a meeting, not a reporter or a journalist. Say it in a meeting. All the other stuff doesn’t help anything. It’s not good for anyone.”

Crosby, who attended meetings in New York last week, has grown tired of the friction between the two sides.

“It’s just frustrating,” he said. “You hear the same things coming out of the meetings. I’m just waiting to hear something new from their side. It’s to the point now where you don’t even want to ask because you’re going to get the same answer you got the week before.”

Crosby doesn’t necessarily go along with the perception that the league’s desire to not honor current contracts and control future contracts has become a bigger issue than the splitting of league revenue.

“I don’t think it has,” he said. “It (contract issues) hasn’t even been negotiable. You try to talk things out, get a feel for how things can get done. When you’re hearing to not even go there, it’s very frustrating.”

A couple of high-profile owners, including Boston’s Jeremy Jacobs and Washington’s Ted Leonsis, attended last week’s meetings. Crosby believes that was an unfair sampling of what owners really might be thinking.

“That’s the unfortunate thing as far as owners are concerned,” Crosby said. “You have two or three owners there. Whether that’s the feeling of all 30, we don’t know. We’ve had a lot of players there. It’s a bigger range of what we think.”

Although Crosby wasn’t feeling optimistic about the past few days, he still possesses some hope that a season will be played.

“There’s no reason why we can’t figure something out,” he said.

This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.