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Penguins growing frustrated by labor stalemate

| Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

With the NHL losing a second season in eight years because of labor turmoil becoming a legitimate scenario, Penguins wing Pascal Dupuis strolled through the Iceoplex at Southpointe on Friday wearing a Montreal Expos cap.

That franchise was crippled following the 1994 baseball work stoppage. Ten years later, Dupuis was an NHLer when a season was lost.

Here we are again, and this time, the veteran isn't sure what to expect.

“I thought the whole time it was going to get resolved during the last time (in the 2004-05 season),” he said.

But it didn't, and now players are unsure what might happen next.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman needed only an hour to dismiss three NHLPA proposals Thursday, leaving many Penguins in a surly mood.

“You all saw what happened during the last couple of days,” Dupuis said. “It looks like one side has an agenda and is sticking to it.”

The handful of Penguins on hand for Friday's workout believe there will be a season, but none was optimistic about how quickly it might begin. Team player representative Craig Adams said he might join teammates Evgeni Malkin, Deryk Engelland and Dustin Jeffrey in Europe soon.

Some of the Penguins admitted that, like many fans, they believed the lockout was coming to an end when the league offered a “50/50” split of hockey-related revenue earlier this week.

“We had huge (mood) swings,” defenseman Ben Lovejoy said. “All of us were probably way too optimistic on Tuesday night as most of the general public was. We all thought this was a good sign and that we could be playing hockey by Nov. 2. As more and more details came out, I think the players were more and more disappointed.”

Adams was miffed that the league rejected the proposals in such short order. He is hopeful the league will reconsider.

“The only thing that makes me optimistic is that we proposed three really good deals for them,” Adams said. “I kind of think that, maybe the longer they look at them, they'll see that they're really good deals.”

Bettman's suggestion Thursday that the players can contact the league to reconvene negotiations didn't go over well, either.

“They're waiting on us to make an offer,” Adams said. “I think both sides should do what they think is the best thing for them and the best chance of getting a deal done. If he wants to wait on us, he can wait.”

What happens next in anyone's guess.

“It's disappointing,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “What happened in Toronto really isn't good for anyone involved in this.”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com.

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