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Wild owner Craig Leipold and new defenseman Ryan Suter in July.

Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

Wild's Suter backs off his words critical of team owner

  • October 29, 2012 - 6:40 AM

Locked-out Wild defenseman Ryan Suter backtracked from comments he made Friday night to ESPN The Magazine that insinuated he felt Wild owner Craig Leipold, knowing the league would try to reduce player salaries in collective bargaining, negotiated 13-year, $98 million contracts with him and Zach Parise in bad faith.

"If you can't afford to [sign contracts], then you shouldn't do it," Suter told the magazine. "[Leipold] signed us to contracts. ... A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed."

Sunday night, before playing in the "Defending the Blue Line" charity game at Mariucci Arena, Suter said his comments came off wrong and that he just wants to play.

"I know they're good people," Suter said of Leipold and GM Chuck Fletcher. "And I know they wouldn't negotiate thinking, 'OK, let's give them this because it'll end up being this.' "

Suter admits that he and Parise also knew the potential of a lockout; it's why they received $10 million of their $12 million 2012-13 salary in a lockout-protected signing bonus.

"Just moving forward, I don't want to get into a battle," Suter said. "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. ... The main thing is we just love playing hockey, so we're frustrated right now."

MICHAEL RUSSO

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