ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Locked-out NHL players hit the ice Saturday night to raise money for Superstorm Sandy victims.
New York Rangers star Henrik Lundqvist made 57 saves in the Operation Hat Trick charity game at Boardwalk Hall to help Team New York beat Team New Jersey 10-6.
“(You’d) think he’d have a little rust on him (after not) playing for five or six months,” said Philadelphia Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell, who captained Team New Jersey.
Pittsburgh Penguins left wing James Neal scored four goals for Team New York.
Hartnell and New York Rangers center Brad Richards organized the game. Tickets ranged from $20 to $100, and the players’ equipment will be autographed and auctioned off. The proceeds are earmarked for the American Red Cross, Empire State Relief Fund and the New Jersey Hurricane Relief Fund. The NHLPA also donated $20,000 to the charities.
“A lot of people were affected by Sandy. It’s great to do stuff like this,” Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi said. “A lot of people here lost their homes are fans. We had some people who lost everything.”
The sellout crowd of 10,792 hockey-starved fans chanted “We want hockey! We want hockey!” and also called for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s firing.
“We hear that,” Girardi said. “(The New York), New Jersey and Philadelphia fans are very passionate. It’s hilarious, but we don’t feel that way.”
A group of 25 players met with NHLPA executive director Don Fehr earlier in the day for an update on the negotiations.
“When you make a move towards them, if you’re (going to) have an agreement, somebody has to say yes and now I can do this. Instead they said more or less, ‘Yes and what else can you do for me?'” Fehr said. “Everybody understands that negotiation is a process. So far, we seem to be doing all the negotiating.”
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