Sunday, May 08, 2005

 

The NHL Responds

From A Top Source, "Its time for Bob to stop lying to the players. This is a total crock and couldn't be further from the truth. The "analysis" they performed on the League's proposal evidenced either a total lack of understanding of how these things work, or, more likely, was intentionally invented to poison the process. It was entirely detached from reality not to mention internally inconsistent. Nothing more than a means to Bob's end -- a tool to keep the fight going. Sickening. This deal will only get done when the players take charge of their Union."

Several player I talked to are considering doing just that, but some others are calling this just a part of the process....One said this, "Bob knows what he is doing and we are behind him. This is a negotiation and as the end approaches it will get uglier...Bob knows what we want and it is his job to get it. I, personally trust him."

Another source, long trusted throughout the NHL said this a few weeks back: "People forget what the NHL was like pre-Goodenow...the players were in a terrible position. He has done wonders, and this is why they stick behind him, " he continued, "Guys admire him, and he takes a great deal of interest in them...He knows every stat of third and fourth liners and will talk to the player about his game."

Some are very loyal, others are saying that if there is no deal by May 24th they have to ask him to step down...Two players told me they wouldn't leave that meeting until it was resolved...

Another source said, "I find it hard to believe that Bob will accept defeat in any way...This was a losing battle all along, everyone knew the players had to make an adjustment, but now, even after lost sponsors and a cancelled season he is pushing a 50M salary cap. If he can't win this battle, I believe he will leave it."

Another source, "It is very unfair to pin this all on Goodenow. Linden can remove him if he wanted to. The players are responsible for their stance, every bit as much as Bob."

That brings us full circle to the two meetings last week...The word on the inside is that Linden, Guerin and Gartner were truly engaged in the discussions. A top source said this, "The players were there to listen yesterday and today. They want to make a deal. The Union people -- Bob, Ian, McCambridge -- were there to poison the well. Still want to do everything they can to prevent progress. Ultimately, the players will win out. The question is when?"

What do the union people have to gain by poisoning the well? I want the players to get all the money they can...They do deserve to be making millions....So why delay the process when the situation is potentially grimmer than grim. Sponsors are about to leave and teams will either have to fold, or the NHL will be sent back to the 1960s...All the momentum built by Howe, Gretzky, Lemieux, Lindros, Forsberg, Brodeur, etc....is being undone by waiting.....Obviously the players don't believe that argument, and I suppose only time will tell, but what a risky game to play...It is hard to say it will get better...Living in the US, let me tell you, even in the great hockey town of Philadelphia I attended a playoff AHL game that maybe had 2,000 people in a 20,000 seat arena...A game featuring future Flyers stars Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, Antero Nittymaki, and Pens Marc Fleury...The Pens radio announcers said it felt like a high school game.

I wish someone from the PA would e-mail me at pelle@eklundshockeyreport.com and explain the waiting game...the players are afraid to go on the record and I understand that...The NHL isn't afraid to go on the record(they are open and keep me constantly informed)...we need answers...the die-hard fans, who take their time to read blogs about a labor dispute are the ones that you will need to defend your sport and bring it back into the limelight...

This is beyond dangerous.



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