Frustrated players admit NHL hockey on the decline

Here are recent quotes from Bill Guerin, Brett Hull and Jeremy Roenick, each expressing their frustration about the lack of negotiations for a new CBA. Hull and Roenick further admit that, while they don’t want to give in to the NHL, the game is on the decline.

Bill Guerin “We’ve given (the owners) well-thought-out proposals and (Gary Bettman is) not willing to negotiate. What we’ve gotten back is just ridiculous. We presented a proposal with hundreds of pages of fine details. What we got back is six concepts and the longest one may have been 230 words and some were 30 words. You know what that is? That’s no effort. (Bettman) is not being serious.” (Ottawa Sun)

my take – Hey Bill of those 230 words how many were you able to read on your own?

Brett Hull “I’m more perturbed at the fact that whether it’s one side or the other, they don’t seem to really care whether (a deal) gets done or not. As far as I’m concerned, the players, I think, have to become a little more realistic about what is fair-market value for themselves. But I would also tell (NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow) to stand firm. . . I think they (union leaders) are doing a good job. I don’t think (the owners) are ever going to get a salary cap from us, but if (NHL commissioner Gary Bettman) ever wanted to, I don’t think the number he’s starting at is very good.”

Hull on the game: “I think the fans lost interest starting 10 years ago when Gary Bettman came in, and I think everyone who has watched the game has seen the game decline, not only in popularity, but the actual game itself has declined in skill and excitement and fan entertainment value. … We don’t have a TV contract because it’s ‘a bad game.’ It’s a fantastic game and a great game to watch, but something has happened along the way that has made it very undesirable for TV to want to pick up the NHL, and I think it’s because of the level of play, the diluted talent and poor marketing.” (All Hull quotes from the Arizona Republic.)

my take – Brett on the one hand you are destroying the game, on the other hand you think you’re underpaid?

Jeremy Roenick on the strike “Gary Bettman, you should be banging on Bob Goodenow’s door, demanding to negotiate right now, Get into a room, lock the door, and don’t come out until there’s a deal. (The players) are mad because of the lack of negotiations,” he said. “Nobody has talked. And I don’t understand why nobody has talked…They’re mad at Gary Bettman, because Gary Bettman is really putting on a hardball stance right now, and he’s being tough, and you don’t act tough like that to hockey players.”

Jeremey on the game “People don’t care right now. People are watching football; they’re watching basketball. They don’t care that hockey’s not on TV right now. But…Bob Goodenow and Gary Bettman, you should care about two things: the fans and the state of the game. And if you don’t get this deal done soon, you’re going to lose them both.” (All Jeremy quotes from Fox Sports’ Best Damn Sports Show Period, as reported in Philadelphia Daily News.)

my take What do you mean “you don’t act tough like that to hockey players” I guess that is either Roenick’s concussion speaking or he is trying to steal Ben Stiller’s role in the sequel to Dodgeball.

On behalf of fans everywhere, I would like to extend my gratitude to these three superstars who have collectively milked the NHL for over $150 million dollars and left the game in the worst shape it has been entertainment wise, in its history. I am shocked that after paying them nine figures to turn a growing sport into a declining morass, that the NHL owners are not leaping over hedges to rush to negotiate with them.

On a side note, there are unconfirmed rumors that if NHL play resumes in early 2005, that the Flyers would like to sign Ron Artest for the balance of the season.

46 Responses to Frustrated players admit NHL hockey on the decline

  1. Aetherial says:

    100 pages of crap, that is even LESS of a concession than previous crap does not represent a willingness to negotiate.

    I think the most telling point to this is that the owners don’t seem particularly anxious to negotiate. Maybe the players should think about why.

    I hear player after player saying they won’t accept a salary cap…

    Total and utter BS.

    At the end of the day, there may not be a cap, maybe a stuff luxury tax + revenue sharing + changes in arbitration + no guaranteed contracts will be enough “cost certainty” for the owners?

    BUT… if the only league in town offers a cap, then the players WILL choke on it, period.

    So far, it does not look like a bunch of new owners are going to arise and pay these players anything near what they are paid now, without a cap, in a new 30-team league.

    All the players are doing is backing themselves into a corner and an untenable position by their continuing posturing on the issue. They are going to look stupid if the owners hold firm until they concede to a cap.

    I keep coming back to Flyers_Fan on this site who said it all a few weeks ago…

    “neither side is hurting enough yet”.

    So true. The bad news is that neither side will hurt enough until next year, at the earliest. On the other hand, that is good news since I am hoping that I never see one of the NHLPA players ever play again 🙂

    How long will it take to forget the current *stars* of the league who have forgotten the fans all along. There is no such thing as loyalty… I will enjoy John Doe scoring a goal for the Leafs as much as Sundin… maybe more, since he won’t be paid about hundreds of thousands of dollars per goal!

  2. hockeyhead says:

    my take…bill, youre a loser for leaving boston. the bruins have had more success than your stars since you left. youre whole thing about commitment to winning is why you left. look at your stats pal. tell the truth $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    my take on hull….i can’t believe i agree with the cry baby. says a lot about me i guess.

    jr….this cat is obviously setting up his post career. the best damn sports show period was created for this ramblin fountain of misinformation.

    that is good news for ron. i also heard that mike tyson was offered a spot on the pacers (thanks j leno.)

  3. RangerSteve says:


  4. rojoke says:

    “(Bettman) is not being serious.”

    Earth to Bill. Gary and the owners want a salary cap. They seem willing to gut the entire season. I think they’re serious.

  5. NjDEVSFN says:

    havent we always been told in school that teachers would rather have “quality” over “quantity”?

    maybe the owners 230words mean more than “hundres of pages of fine detail”

    and in terms of being serious, you said it, theyll cancel the season if necessary, and thats quite serious!

    hull is right that no sides seem to care about negotiating and interest in the NHL started dropping about 10 years ago BUT to say that Bettman(who can only change rules) ruined the game to near obscurity is wrong.

    the goalies are bigger and better which Bettman cant control however, Bettman should revert ALL rules back to pre-1995(last 300goal team was NJD in 93-94)

    JR can be funny, and he can even be right, but tough to hockey players? are they wussies off the ice or something? gimme a break JR…just start negotiating, the more the NHLPA waits, the more it WILL lose

    people DO care about the lockout, but neither the NHLPA nor NHL have given the media(particularly US) anything to write about…there have been 0 proposals and 0 negotiating sessions just rhetoric(which, btw, an American will just turn on FoxNewsCHannel for)

    so in order to get people to “care” again JR, why dont you lock Gary and Bob in a room? that way, the papers will have something to write about

  6. 19Yzerman says:

    I have been suffering from HDS Hockey Deprevation Syndrome. Finaly snow is flying around here and I will be going north to medicate myself with an adrenelin fix on my snowmobile.

    Perhaps the NHL should address contract issues such as the one that caused Boston to say,”10 Mil for Bill? They can have him”

    Carolina did the same thing to the Wings who matched the Hurricanes offer which cost the Wings to spend more to keep Federov.

    The NHL is so focused on a CAP that they are losing sight of their own finacial mismanagement techniques.

  7. Aetherial says:

    The amount of words means absolutely nothing.

    The fact is that the basic principles can be expressed in a paragraph or two… The final CBA will be the result of negotiating and hundreds of pages of legalese… but that come WAY after a proposal is deemed worthy of pursuing.

    The NHL Dismissed the huge detail provided by the players because they felt it did not address their concerns (or they simply dismissed it as “not a cap”)…

    The players dismissed much smaller details from which could have come bigger negotiations.

  8. goodfela26 says:

    What do you think the NHL is trying to do by demanding a salary cap?

  9. CupBoundFlyers says:

    hahahaa HDS, that’s a good one. I’ll definitely have to borrow that one when i’m tryin to explain to people why i am feeling a bit depressed this fall/winter, all while I’m waiting for our lakes to freeze (I live around philly so naturally it isnt that cold here yet).

    And dude, snowmobiles are sweet, but if it’s that cold where you live already why in the world are you inside when you could be participating in some pond hockey!

  10. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says: is reporting Artest will be a Leaf and play on new line with Darcy Tucker and the too-be-traded-for Martin Havlat. The Leafs will of course trade Nic Antripov and a bag of pucks to get Havlat and Brashear will beat the living piss out of each one of them.


  11. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    As for both sides not hurting enough yet…

    They are WEEKS away from an irreparable situation. The NBC TV deal will have NO basis to be converted into a REAL pro sports TV deal, the NHL fan base will be easily 25% smaller thanks to the strike, the player skill level will be lower because SOME players will stay overseas and so on.

    The NHLPA needs to accept there will be a CAP – plain and simple. The issue is, much like with the NFL, how high will the cap be? Will their be a “franchise player – Larry Bird” exception for the big name players etc…

  12. big_booty says:

    ESPN reports that Artest is disturbed enough to switch careers, leagues, and roles, however, he isn’t too pleased with the fact that he still won’t get paid for another year.

    On a related note, Donald Brashear was quoted in the Philadelphia Inquirer as saying that he “couldn’t wait to heave a malty beverage at that pantywaist.”

    Upon learning of Brashear’s reaction, Artest promptly soiled himself.

    Darcy Tucker and Martin Havlat were unavailable for comment as they were in Massachussets exchanging wedding vows.

    Antropov, surprisingly enough, reacted to his trade with nothing more than a blank stare.

  13. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    the kind of blank stare Lindos gives Karen Johnston when she tells him to stop playing….

  14. greatlife15 says:

    What do you get when you put three high paid morons err… I mean hockey players in a room to talk about a situation which is atleast 30 IQ points above theirs put together? You get these three red-assed baboons. Do they know what they are saying?? These guys give meaning to the word “dipshit”. Artest… God Bless his sould but he was a train wreck waiting to happen. I wonder how the Pacers are going to do this year?

  15. 19Yzerman says:

    A Cap is an amount that NO Team can go above which has not been what Bettman has been voicing interest in.

    Cost Certainty is where Bettmans focus has been since the end of the last CBA which is where he says the players shall not make more than 930 million collectively and makes no reference to amounts that teams may spend.

  16. 19Yzerman says:

    That which you speak of is a direct result of every crime committed by athletes these days and knowing no CONSIQUENCE for their actions.

    Some how some way they are getting away with





    You name it. If there is a crime against society these high profile athletes are given the green light to commit whatever act of crime they see fit because there is presidence of them getting away with ANYTHING.

    Not to mention fans having full beers in their hands upon completion of a game to toss at a guy like Artest. You are right it was a train wreck waiting to happen.

  17. hockeyhead says:

    have money..will travel

  18. 19Yzerman says:

    Have Beer/Chair/Haymaker

    Will throw

  19. hockeyhead says:

    oh, it’s true…it’s damn true.

    i wonder what will happen to danny heatley? if history should repeat it self….yaa. the only way something happens to these guys is if they get killed.

    i wonder what will happen to bertuzzi?

  20. habsoverserver says:

    I think the entire proposal can be written as follows:

    players get less money

    owners stay in business

    until now, the players have been going with:

    players get no money

    owners go out of business

  21. habsoverserver says:

    Are they bringing that back as an Olympic sport? I think Chelios would choose it over bobsledding. I think he led his team to gold in that event back in Nagano.

  22. hockeyhead says:

    they need to come up with a reasonable percentage that can go to salaries and then i feel that the players should be paid according to star status.

    habs…like when you brought up movie stars, actors that rake in the money get big salaries.

    who goes to see joe thornton as opposed to see peter douris….they should get money for jersey sales. stuff like that. it does not sound fair but the people should dictate the spending. yzerman should get more than draper because that is who people want to watch.

    either that or production. defence and offence included.

  23. habsoverserver says:

    If the NHL revenues grow then the players should get more money. If revenues contract, they should get less.

    A starting number on what percent they should get is the average of the three other pro sports in North America.

    That’s all it takes to end the lockout.

  24. DandoEagle says:

    geurin is right yup yup yup guerin is right. everyone should listen to bill geurin. he knows what is bestest for the league. he is looking out for the betterest of the league. if you dont agree then you know nothing about hockey.

  25. 19Yzerman says:

    Bringing what back as an Olympic sport?

    Ferrari flipping?

    Dont worry about Burtuzzi he is comfortable in his jacuzzi. Being garded by Uzzi and if some one comes after him he will escape on his MotoGuzzi.

  26. habsoverserver says:

    I meant the post game rec room chair toss.

  27. Aetherial says:


    The owners stay firm, then, yes, there will be a cap.

    If I was a player what would concern me is that I will miss a couple PRECIOUS years of playing over this and, in the end, get a deal only marginally better.. if at all better, than the cap just offered.

    The players are taking a militant stance, just like the owners. The problem is, the owners control the money! There are NOT 30 new owners in viable markets just waiting to take these players back.

    They are going to look awfully stupid when they cave in but only IF…

    The owners stay firm.

    Whish should not be too difficult of they really are losing money and their warchest is what it is rumored to be.

  28. 19Yzerman says:

    I wasn’t sure because chelios and his bobsled team crashed the bobsled.

    The mexican team that brought its bobsled in the back of an El Camino finished before them.

  29. 19Yzerman says:

    We were just getting some fluries. I am waiting for the ponds to freeze here also. In the northern part of michigan they are starting to do some riding. They rent sleds up there for $165.00 per day so is you want beat one like you rented it. Let me know I will direct ya to hours of fun with no lockout.

  30. habsoverserver says:

    The players have started receiving $10,000 per month lockout pay from the union. This coupled with what they are making in Europe or the minor leagues is more than enough to pay their bills.

    I think many of them feel they can wait out the owners.

    We’ll see what happens when the NHL cancels the season.

  31. aafiv says:

    Remember that there’s no hockey right now because of the owners – not the players.

    Remember that the season will be cancelled by the owners – not the players.

    Remember that the $300-million war chest the NHL has been saving amounts to $10-million per team which equals nothing to them.

    Remember that a salary cap system will only benefit teams like your habs who can’t compete financially. Other owners who can win and make a profit paying players what they make now don’t need a cap and will begin to get sick of this mess and the fact they are making nothing.

    I predict the owners will cave first.

  32. Aetherial says:

    YEs, they can pay their bills. They likely can pay their bills for a while with no income.

    However, a 2 year lockout will costs the average player millions.

    It isn’t about paying their bills it is about a very limited amount of time to earn big dollars and have financial freedom for the rest of their lives. They are wasting this time.

  33. habsoverserver says:

    Remember that only a few teams are profitable. The minority can’t get the season started.

    Remember that not losing any money is cheaper than losing money. So teams are doing better by not playing.

    Remember that a salary cap benefits the league because higher quality play and new teams making the finals creates more fans. It’s been great for football.

    The Habs are in the upper half of the league in salaries.

    I predict the owners will not cave.

  34. Aetherial says:

    I hope you are wrong.

    I think *both* sides will cave. I am guessing the solution will be something like:

    A NASTY luxury tax that the owners will use as a cap anyway.

    Revenue sharing and minimum salaries for teams

    Changes to guaranteed contracts, perhaps not as far as the NFL took them.

    A total overhaul to the arbitration system.

    As far as the owners being the ones to lock out…

    I have said this before and received NO intelligent debate and you keep bringing the same point up over and over again. It is OH SO EASY for the players to sit back and say “we were willing to play and negotiate under while under the old CBA…

    Yeah, what-the-*****-ever. IT is easy to saythat when you are on the side that has seen the salary escalation that the players have been the benefactors of. All that would do is put them in the driver’s seat…

    the same way individual players regularly feel justified in sitting out until a *new* contract is negotiated.

    think a NASTY luxury tax, as well as changes to the arbitration process and

  35. habsoverserver says:

    A two year lockout ends the sport in some regions of the country.

    The NHL is not only going to get a cap out of this but they have also managed to knock a year off everyone’s high priced contract. How do you think Jagr feels knowing that he is not getting $10 mil this yr and the next deal he signs will be at $5 mil. He’s going to have to play two years to make up what he loses this year.

    I agree with you, the players will not make back the income they lost. But the players think that after the last lockout they went from 50% of league revenues to 70% of revenues. They figure that by staying out, they can protect their current salaries.

    Salaries will decline until revenues pick up. So Jagr better figure out how to score 50 goals under the Broadway lights if he wants to bring home major coin.

  36. hockeyhead says:

    youre slipping dando…that last sentence was way too coherent.

  37. habsoverserver says:

    If you eliminate RFA holdouts you can make it work.

    Players loved the old deal – yeah where if you didn’t like your contract you stopped playing til they gave you more money.

    a huge luxury tax is a good solution – if it ties payroll tax levels to revenues

  38. habsoverserver says:

    Bettman today said “a luxury tax will not work and it will create a potential for future disaster in the NHL.” The NHL commissioner was quoted by the AP while speaking at an Edmonton Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

    “Future disaster”?

    What about the present disaster?


  39. Aetherial says:

    I suspect a nasty luxury tax may be in the works because

    1) It allows the union to escape this hole they have dug themselves saying they will NEVER play under a cap… (ROFLMAO!)

    2) It allows the owners to effectively have a cap. They can adhere to the luxury tax total and not likely be sued for collusion… they could all say that they stayed at that salary level because of the tax…

    If you

    Throw out current arbitration

    Put conditions on guaranteed contracts

    Control the rookie salary cap (close the loopholes)

    Share revenues

    Institute a *minimum* team salary cap

    You quite likely have a workable solution. The players may not like it but I think the reality they are facing now is far worse.

  40. Aetherial says:

    At the end of the day…

    The players will lose more than they could ever possibly recoup…

    because the deal, whatever it turns out to be, will not afford them the chance to makethe money back… most of them anyway.

  41. 19Yzerman says:

    If Guerin’s middle name is Jo and he has a girl friend named Bobby Sue then I just figured out who the Steve Miller Band was singing about.

    Go On “Take The Money and Run”

  42. habsoverserver says:

    I agree. The debate now becomes how long does it take for the union to agree to that.

    As far as a luxury tax – Bettman said yesterday “no way”. Either he is serious or he’s lying. He could be lying in order to later agree to a steep luxury tax and make it look like the players made him fold, when in reality he wanted it all along.

  43. greatlife15 says:

    Oh God! Why is Dando back again?? yup yup yup… what in the world is that??? Electro? Is that you?? How do you manage to continue life with such bad grammar? But not to start another whole argument about grammar, which usually spawns into an argument about Canada vs. USA… GO CANADA!!!

  44. greatlife15 says:

    El Caminos… LOL those things are great… HOW’s it going esse??

  45. DandoEagle says:

    if cananda is so great then why is geurin whose is american the most rightest guy? everyone knows americans are the bestest at hockey. why else would they higher goodonow and bettman? cause they are smarter americans. yup yup yup americans rule yup yup yup!!!

  46. greatlife15 says:

    … I think i just dropped 10 IQ points just reading that. You know why they highered Goodenow and Bettman? They highered them because the game changed from having fun to making hordes of money. And what’s the best way to that? Higher Americans ofcourse! Americans are very good at making money (just look at the American economy, I feel like I’m on a rollercoaster just looking at the charts)

    Peace out,


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