- Craig Custance
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On Friday, Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter expressed frustration with the lockout and questioned whether the contract he signed with the club was negotiated in good faith. In July, Suter and Zach Parise signed identical 13-year contracts worth $98 million to play for the Wild.
With time to consider that stance, he's decided to back off the original comments. During an interview with the Star Tribune before another charity game on Sunday, Suter toned it down.
"I thought a lot about since what I said. I don't question (Wild owner) Craig Leipold and Minnesota with regards to negotiating our contracts in good faith. I don't question that," Suter told the newspaper. "It's just frustrating. We just want to play. We support Don (Fehr) in what he's doing. Obviously, you sign a contract and you want to hold true to that."
To his credit, Suter didn't claim to be misquoted or taken out of context.
"It's disappointing. If you can't afford to (sign contracts), then you shouldn't do it," Suter told ESPN The Magazine on Friday. "(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."
Suter would prefer not to become the center of the collective bargaining agreement fight, especially considering the long-term nature of his relationship with the Wild and Leipold.
"Just moving forward, I don't want to get into a battle about that. I don't want to be a poster boy," Suter said Sunday. "I'm just trying to be honest with you. I don't question Craig, I don't feel like it was negotiated unfaithfully or untruthfully."
Suter's deal included a $10 million signing bonus which provides lockout insurance in case the stalemate between the two sides drags on, which becomes more likely if the Winter Classic is wiped out this week.
But on Friday, Suter said it wasn't the financial aspect that is the biggest source of his frustration right now.
"I miss playing. I miss being around the guys," Suter told ESPN The Magazine. "You just can't put a price tag on that."
With time to consider his stance that the Wild didn't negotiate in good faith, Ryan Suter has toned down his comments.