Don't listen to talk of an NHL players' strike -- particularly any talk that includes a strike date -- Washington Capitals goalie Mike Liut says.
"We have not decided to strike, and we have not discussed a strike date," said Liut, Capitals player representative.
Liut said reports that speculate about a strike after April 5, the last day of the regular season, might have emanated from the owners.
"They've been leaking information about the talks to the media or somebody," Liut said. "It's obvious they should all fine themselves $250,000 for breaking their own gag rule. They agreed to the fines."
If the players strike before the start of the playoffs, April 8, it wouldhurt the owners the most. Players get their entire salaries from the regular season, but the owners make their profits from the playoffs. NHL president John Ziegler said 13 percent of the the clubs' revenues comes from the postseason.
Liut holds out hope that a settlement can be reached.
"I'd like to see both sides come together in the next two weeks," Liut said. "There is not a good chance of that happening right now, because there doesn't seem to be a willingness on both sides. But time sometimes brings people together."
Liut said the players would "be going backward" if they agreed to the offer on the table now.
"They've given us more playoff revenue and more pension money," said Liut, who added he doesn't feel comfortable talking about the details of the negotiations. "But we've gone backward free agency, a reduction of the entry draft rounds and arbitration."
The players have been without a collective bargaining agreement since September.