Ryan Suter disappointed in lockout

Updated: October 26, 2012, 9:05 PM ET
By Craig Custance | ESPN The Magazine

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- In July, Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold spent $196 million to lure free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to Minnesota with matching 13-year, $98 million contracts.

Both players have yet to play a game for the Wild with the NHL's lockout surging into the final days of October. And on the day the league wiped out the remainder of the games in November, Suter is now wondering if those huge contracts were negotiated in good faith.

Suter It's disappointing. If you can't afford to (sign contracts) then you shouldn't do it. (Owner Craig Leipold) signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it's disappointing. A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed.

-- Wild's Ryan Suter

"From what's going on right now? Yes. Definitely," Suter told ESPN The Magazine. "I haven't done any interviews. I haven't said anything, but yeah, it's disappointing that the owners, they sign all these guys and some guys were signed within the last week before the CBA was up. Now, they're trying to go back on their word. It's frustrating, disappointing. It doesn't seem like that's the way you operate a relationship or business."

The league has been consistent in its stance that too much of the league revenue has gone toward player salaries in the final years of the previous CBA. Suter expressed frustration that the owner who signed him to such a lucrative deal would now try to get some of the money back. Like many players, he's willing to work toward a 50-50 revenue split if current contracts are honored.

"It's disappointing. If you can't afford to (sign contracts) then you shouldn't do it," Suter said. "(Leipold) signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it's disappointing. A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed."

As part of their identical contracts, both Suter and Parise received $10 million signing bonuses that were protected from the lockout.

Suter has quietly been training with his father's Midget AAA hockey team in Madison, Wis., and has no plans to play overseas, despite interest from teams there. He's in Chicago to participate in a charity game between the members of the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks and All-Stars to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.

He said hanging out with the players before the charity game and getting ready to play in front of fans are just reminders of what the players are missing.

"We're close to November," Suter said. "Why can't we get something done? I know we're willing to negotiate. We've always been willing. You just need someone to talk to."

Information from ESPN.com's Pierre Lebrun was used in this report.

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