Avs forward: Players didn't cause league's financial woes

MONTREAL -- Vincent Damphousse of the Colorado Avalanche says hockey great Jean Beliveau was wrong to blame the players for the league's financial woes.

Beliveau said this week the players were "making a terrible mistake" by not making enough concessions to end the two-month lockout.

Damphousse, a member of the NHL Players' Association executive committee, is, like Beliveau, a former Montreal Canadiens captain. He was San Jose's leading scorer during a surprising playoff run last year.

"It's not the players who put hockey in trouble," Damphousse told Montreal's La Presse. "The owners say that themselves. They're the ones who made bad decisions and who lacked discipline. We negotiate our contracts, but the owners set the budgets. And when contracts are signed, both sides seem happy."

The NHL and the players union haven't met since Sept. 9 and have no plans to return to the bargaining table. The league, which already canceled its All-Star Game, says it cannot survive under terms of the last labor agreement and is in need of "cost certainty" to stay afloat.

"People seem to forget that we're aware of the problem and we want to improve things," Damphousse said. "We have made concessions since the beginning."