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Habs boss says weak loonie threatens Canadian clubs @NHL

MONTREAL - Montreal Canadiens president Pierre Boivin fears that the sagging loonie could send Canadian NHL teams spiralling back into the dark economic days that preceded the lockout.

Boivin says the league's six Canadian clubs are thriving at the gate and bring in more than a third of the total revenue for the 30-team NHL.

But he identified the tumbling dollar as one of three threats to the continued viability of Canadian clubs.

He also says the NHL's post-lockout revenue-sharing deal to prop up weaker U.S. teams has also left Canadian organizations at the mercy of the dollar's performance.

The Habs' president says Canadian teams each lost tens of millions of dollars in the years before the NHL lockout, a period when they had difficulty piecing together competitive squads.

The NHL lost the 2004-05 season to a labour dispute before the players and owners signed a new collective bargaining agreement, which included a salary cap.

Boivin says the three-year-old salary cap is a better system but it still has aspects that are "not working well."

He says he doubts the players and owners will sit down at the negotiating table for about two years, just before the existing agreement expires.

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