Sunday, March 27, 2005

 

A Player Speaks Regarding Current Situation

I have had several conversations over the last few days with various players regarding replacement players, the NLRB, and other issues. The following passage is one that one of the guys allowed me to post. This player is highly regarded throughout the NHLPA and I love talking to him because he is always very honest and upfront. To set this up, we had been discussing another player's opinion that even if all the third and fourth line players crossed it wouldn't matter. That the fans won't come back until the stars come back. I said I thought fans would watch 3rd and 4th liners, that hockey is the ultimate team sport and a lot of my favorite guys aren't the stars. In Philly, I know from years of experience, that this is not a superstar town, unless that star works his **** off every night...here is his response...

"I respectively disagree. It is only my opinion. You've spoken I'm sure to more fans than myself so you may be correct over myself, regardless, I believe and guys I speak to believe alot of 3rd and 4th liners won't cross. I feel very strongly about this as well. It's what I believe from speaking to everyone. This is a tight knit union where loyalty to one another and respect of one another is huge. A big part of standing up for what we believe in here and not just caving in to any deal that makes us money is in respect to the guys that did so before us. Some ending their careers because of it. To say ahh hell, we've made our money, let's just get a deal done so we can make our cash, besides, who cares about the guys behind us, would be kicking the guys in the ***** who stood up for us in 94. About fans coming to watch 3rd and 4th liners. Maybe. I don't think so. They love the team aspect, but the stars are a part of the team, they eat up the most ice time and make the product the most exciting. Would fans come to watch 3, 4 liners? They could, but, if anyone crosses, there first would have to be a big explosion within the union, and I really believe you'd only get a handful of guys cross. Not enough to make the "NHL" anywhere near what it really is. As much as fans would praise these guys, everyone knows in the union, if you cross, you will absolutely become one of the biggest Black Sheeps in sports history. Every NHLer that has been involved in a lockout will know your name, a player who crosses will be having in room dining for the rest of his career when he's on the road, unless he likes to eat alone. Could you imagine one of these guys on a team once we start back up, how pissed guys would be that he undermined a process that a full year was sacrificed for, possible more. These threats aren't thrown out there in any way, but players are smart enough to know the consequences. Maybe for some, it's worth it though, and that is why I suggest that if at best you would only get a hand full. The main focus right now should not be replacements, guys crossing, stipend issues etc... It should be how do we get a deal done that will get everyone back to work. All these other considerations and issues only stalls and takes focus away from the main problem. I'm not faulting you in any way, you are asking because with your blog and your fans, you need to inform on all issues, I'm speaking more generically towards the media and two sides. Forget the mumbo jumbo Gary and Bob, get the friggin deal done!"

I have also talked to a few guys that think that Gary taking the stipend issue to the NLRB is just a ploy to make the NHLPA look bad. The general feeling among the PA is that the 75G a player would have to give back to go and make a million or so is completely moot. The reason for the payback isn't to keep people from crossing... One player, a ten year vet with a cup to his name, said this, " When we signed up for stipends one of the concerns we had was that basically every player, no matter how few games they played. should get the stipend. I believe that is only fair. We had were a couple of former players who made it clear publically they would be scabs. If the stipend is offered it has to be offered to everyone...the payback policy in my opinion gives some protection against players who would not be in the nhl if everyone played."

Anyway, I really hope you all have a great Easter....Talk to you again...



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