With public sentiment seemingly against the players these days, some NHLers are even getting a hard time from
dear ol' mom.
"I take abuse from my mother about these labour issues, and this is a woman who has two sons in pro hockey," Whitby native Keith Primeau, whose brother Wayne also plays in the NHL, said yesterday.
"If I can't convince my mom about the issues, how do I explain them to the fans who work their hands to the
bone in their various jobs every day?
"I understand that with the money we make, it would be asinine to suggest to the average worker that there
is a problem with money. But this (labour dispute) is about much more than dollars.
"I just wish people knew the intricacies involved."
Primeau rejects suggestions that the players are cash-grabbing parasites, pointing out the number of charity
events NHLers are participating in.
"Games like this are going on all across Canada and the U.S.," he said. "It's a wonderful forum for us to
use our status to showcase the game and support good causes."
Causes such as Shoot for a Cure, a program initiated in the hockey community by the Canadian Spinal Research
Organization (CSRO) to raise awareness and money for spinal cord research.
One week from tonight, Primeau will join fellow Flyers Esche and Sami Kapanen, the Maple Leafs' Joe Nieuwendyk
and Carolina's Jeff O'Neill at the Oshawa Civic Centre for the "Hometown Heroes Stars of Hockey" charity event in support
of Shoot for a Cure. Ducats can be purchased at Ticketmaster, with portions of the sales also going to minor hockey in Oshawa
Primeau is just happy he can play at all after suffering from post-concussion syndrome, an ailment he struggled
with throughout the playoffs.
The Philadelphia Flyers captain was concussed during a game against the New York Rangers in February and missed the next seven weeks. He admits his condition was aggravated in Game 5 of the Flyers-Leafs
Eastern Conference semi-final when he had a run-in with Toronto's Wade Belak. That he was able to record a hat trick in that
same contest truly is amazing.
"I'm finally starting to turn the corner," he said.