Lafleur: NHL should make clean break

Updated: November 1, 2004, 12:09 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

As the NHL lockout crept into its 43rd day Thursday, wiping out another seven regular-season games and 100 to this point, Guy Lafleur came up with a radical idea.

The league should declare bankruptcy and start anew, the former Montreal Canadiens great told the Canadian Press.

"Hockey's sick and they have to solve the problem," Lafleur said in an interview Wednesday in Nova Scotia. "They have to go back to basics. I feel very sorry for the fans that there's no hockey today and that both sides are not talking to each other."

Indeed. The NHL and the Players' Association haven't held a negotiating session since Sept. 9 -- one week before the lockout was imposed. No talks are scheduled.

Lafleur believes there are too many (30) teams in the league, which he says is complicating matters. Consideration should be given to the franchises in the smaller Canadian markets. Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa and even Montreal, he said, are struggling.

"It's private enterprise. The owners are there to make money. Maybe in our day they made too much," he added with a laugh.

Lafleur also said he can't understand why so many NHL players -- 232 through Thursday -- are skating in Europe for several hundred thousand dollars and won't play at home for a several million.

"They're taking a good run at the owners and they're making good money," Lafleur said. "I don't think even with a salary cap players would starve."

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