Commentary, opinion and news on the world of hockey.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

The Great One clarifies role

Wayne Gretzky has cleared up what his role in the latest joke of an attempt at collective bargaining actually was - and who in fact invited him.

In an interview with the New York Post, Gretzky had plenty to say:
"Mario and I believed our role was going to be to do what we could to help the players get to the number that was going to get a deal done," Gretzky told the Post. "Gary never told me or led me to believe [the NHL] was coming to the meeting with a new proposal, or had committed to raising the hard cap number from the previous $42.5 million. Gary never told me the league was prepared to go to $45M.

"I wasn't there to negotiate, and neither was Mario. That wasn't our role. You have to remember, this wasn't the NHL's meeting. If Gary had wanted to call another meeting, he would have done it Wednesday morning before he announced cancellation of the season."

"So when the meeting began, I took Trevor (Linden) and Vincent (Damphousse) aside and asked how they thought we could bridge the gap between $42.5M and [the PA's last proposal of] $49M to make it work," Gretzky said. "They told me they weren't prepared to talk about a hard cap number until the other issues like arbitration, qualifiers and entry level were done."

"That's when I told them that I didn't have a role in that at all, that I wasn't there for that. And that's kind of the way it went. There never was real discussion about the cap number."
What a joke this has become. The NHL has accused the NHLPA of setting them up, and Goodenow has flat out denied that - and denied calling the meeting in the first place. The spin masters are out in full force and every tick of the clock means another fan has had enough.

If the NHL ever had any thoughts about claiming the #4 spot amongst major sports in North America, they can kiss that notion sayonara. What a complete farce both the NHL and NHLPA have become.

For those who actually believed that hockey will start in October, we may have to think again.


  • At 12:55 PM, Anonymous David M Singer said…

    I still think it might start in October - I just can't tell you who's going to be on the ice...

  • At 4:08 PM, Blogger Brett Mirtle said…

    I hope you're right. In all honesty, I would pay to watch replacement players - assuming an AHL skill level, lower ticket prices and that some NHL players would cross the picket line to play.

  • At 5:27 AM, Blogger Sea Otter said…

    Oh, I think they are pretty determined to start in October. Melnyk gave the fans in Ottawa a flat out guarantee they will be back in the Fall, and it's not hard at all to read between the lines of that statement. Can you say, "replacement players", boys and girls? I knew you could!


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