Finally, The Legend Speaks

It took Bobby Orr, who in many minds is the greatest player of all time, and certainly the greatest defenseman, to break his silence.In a column written for the Sunday Eagle-Tribune, Bobby Orr finally said “Our sport is in danger of becoming irrelevant unless both sides immediately put an end to this nonsense.”

Orr wrote in the article that he initially resisted the to speak about the labor dispute and resulting shutdown of the NHL’s season, because he believed the two sides would resolve their differences for the good of the game. However, Orr said he no longer believes that either side was interested in getting a fair deal done. Orr goes on to say that the owners and players must push Bettman and Goodenow immediately for a deal to be worked out before the game is done for good. If no progess is being met, both parties must find a new leader.

I said it quite a while ago that there was going to be no deal because of the egos involved. Gary Bettman would love cost certainty, as well as over a million dollars for getting a salary cap. Bob Goodenow likes how current players are living very well. Neither will agree. With that said, I was hopeful that Orr, who owns a sports agency, would be perfect for the players association. He knows what is great for the game, what works, and what doesn’t. Bobby Orr was the most talented player ever. He knows what crowds like to see. I am certain that he would love to see the trap removed, and while I do not approve, I am sure he would push to shrink goalie equiptment.

As far as Orr’s comments, he is right. The NHL will be done if this continues another year. Being an agent, I am sure that he knows a lot more about the offers that all of us. Most of us that that the 42.5M final offer was more than fair, but it seems the issues are a lot deeper than the cap. Now with the advertisements, and the TV contracts up in the air, both sides can only speculate the fan base, and revenue coming in. It was reported that the owners do not wish to start the season with replacement players, meaning the two sides need to strike a deal.

So with Orr coming out, does it have any impact on either side? Will current players respond? Can we see other legends, like Guy Lafleur, Gordie Howe coming out too? If it is left to Goodenow and Bettman, I think the only hockey we will see is the World Cup, Olympics, and god forbid, the WHA, which still seems to be on the verge of doing something…like folding.