Saturday, May 21, 2005

 

An Even Better Morning

The hockey world slept for the time in months last night after realizing their leaders have gotten closer to getting them all back to what they do best. I feel as if I talked to the entire hockey world last night, and "guarded optimism" was the general tone. Had these folks not been put through the ringer it would have been a whole lot more euphoric.

So where are we really?

"What you are seeing is looking like the beginning of the end," a respected source said.

Another said this, "They aren't going to say much. The week-end is crucial, and the fear is (as has occurred before) that one side will return from the week-end with cold feet. It is an understandable fear, but the situation has never been more ripe for a deal. The owners need it, the players need it, they will get this done."

A player put it this way, "I talked to a person on the Executive Committee and I am, for the first time in ages, very confidant and satisfied with the way this is going. I can't say everything I was told, but I am setting an alarm and hitting the weights Saturday. I was informed there is work to be done, but I was also told that for the first time they know what the work is...... it is just a matter of give and take and many hours."

Another player, usually very skeptical of Bob, said this, "I am impressed with what Bob has done over the last few days, and there is more to that, but I can't say."

Specifics regarding the proposal aren't being released on or off the record for good reason. I can tell you every person I talked to (none of whom were NHL sources) said they were hearing the NHL gave them some numbers better than anyone expected, and those figures hit a chord with certain people on the PA executive committee. That chord appears to have made the PA deal with certain internal issues in a very positive manner, and that was a big reason for the 14 hour meeting. There are also rumors that NFL style transitional and franchise players may be on the table. But as I said, nothing official, just speculation.

So as I said I spent the majority of the night (until 3am) talking to sources...and I'll tell you what...This is the great thing about NHL players, broadcasters, GMs, and others. These people are amazing. Many really need to get back to work and make some money, and yet when I was talking to them so many of them immediately got excited and shared ideas they had for ways to do something for the fans. The more people I talk to, the more I believe if this gets done in June, we will see a pre-season tournament for the fans with cheap tickets and exciting rules...One popular player said this, I will f****g play twenty games for nothing...the fans deserve at least that for putting up with this."

Another respected source said, "We all need to get involved and earn back the fans...the star players need to go to all the youth rinks and meet the kids...Our organization is already planning getting our players out there."

Finally, thanks to Team1200 in Ottawa and WIP in Philly for having me on their radio shows. If you have a sports radio show, feel free to e-mail me at pelle@eklundshockeyreport.com and I'd be happy to oblige if at all possible.

I don't expect to hear many new developments over the next few days as both sides prepare for next week. I do expect to go outside and enjoy this great day in the Northeast (think we'll go to the Philadelpia Zoo, my little girl loves the Otters)...I have spent too much time in front of this screen.



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