One of the Tri-Cities' top NHL players remains hopeful the lockout will end soon, but says it's going to fall on the owners to come up with a better offer.
Ryan Johansen, 20, and just starting what would be his second year as a Columbus Blue Jacket, said no one wants a lockout, but the players aren't about to relent to the league's "brutal offer."
"Some of the things that they have proposed have been pretty shocking. It's definitely not what we think we deserve. That's why we're waiting and we're being patient and we're going to keep doing what we're doing until there's a better offer proposed to us."
Negotiations broke off between the NHL Players' Association and the NHL owners on the weekend after the two sides couldn't reach a deal for a new collective bargaining agreement.
The league's initial offer would have decreased the players' share of NHL revenues from 57 to 46 per cent, while total league revenues have gone up 60 per cent in recent years.
"Last year the NHL had the biggest revenue ever and they just keep wanting more money. It doesn't really add up or make sense," Johansen said. "Really it's just they want more money and they want us to have less."
Johansen has been reassigned to the American Hockey League's Springfield Falcons while 2012-2013 NHL season remains in doubt. A number of players have signed with teams in European leagues.
In his first season with Columbus, the fourth-overall selection of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft tallied nine times and set up 12 others over 67 games. More impressively, despite seeing a lot of thirdline duties with the lowly Jackets, Johansen was just minus-two on the year.
Johansen has been closely following the negotiations, and so far, the two sides remain far apart.
"I've been to a couple of the meetings. I was in Toronto for some meetings and I was in New York for some of the meetings so I have a pretty good feel for myself [on] what's going on. To me it seems they're still a little ways away," he said. "It's not easy stuff to come to an agreement on."
Still, the Port Moody native remains hopeful the owners will come forward and work out a deal to salvage the season this fall, or by Christmas.
"I think that's what everybody wants. Obviously we just want to play hockey. But with what they're proposing, it's kind of ridiculous. We're sticking together for as long as it takes to have a good offer sent to us."
Meanwhile, Johansen is asking the increasingly aggravated NHL fans for a little more patience.
"You can't blame the fans for being frustrated at what's going on, but at the same time I really hope that they still love our organization and still love hockey," he said. "And hopefully when things get started, we can entertain them and have good performances."