Mario Lemieux says he was led to believe that the NHL Players’ Assn. would submit a new offer when he agreed to participate in a negotiating session only days after the season was canceled, according to a newspaper report.
Lemieux, the player-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Phoenix Coyote managing partner Wayne Gretzky were invited by the players’ union to participate in a negotiating session on Feb. 19. They believed a new collective bargaining agreement offer would be made, featuring a $45-million salary cap.
“The only way that Wayne and I would have gotten involved is because we believed there was a new proposal coming from the players’ association,” Lemieux told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We were told by some of the players we were talking to that there would be a new proposal on the table at the $45-[million] level.”
The offer was never made, and union officials said later that they never intended to make one. They insisted they went to New York only because the league had requested a meeting.