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.