He's got a point. It looks like the deal is going to be pretty bad for the players. They had some really good offers from the owners, IMO, that they foolishly turned down. Anyway, I'm glad some of the players are starting to see the union for what it is.
Thursday, June 30, 2005
By Ansar Khan
DETROIT -- Detroit Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace believes NHL players sacrificed a year's pay and damaged the sport for no apparent reason.
And he blames union leadership.
As the league inches closer to a settlement with the NHL Players Association, Legace is the latest player to condemn union leaders for their flawed strategy during a lockout that led to the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.
``The whole thing is a farce,'' Legace, the Red Wings' union representative, said Wednesday. ``We basically sat out for nothing, wasted a lot of money for nothing. It makes no sense to me. ... It's a tough pill to swallow.''
Both sides say significant progress has been made in labor talks the last several weeks. A deal could be announced as early as next week. And by all accounts, it won't be a palatable one for the players.
The agreement reportedly will include an individual team salary cap, based on club revenues, which could start as low as $22 million and top out somewhere between $36 million and $38 million. The cap will be linked to league revenue, another issue the NHLPA adamantly opposed. And players will be forced to sacrifice 24 percent of the remaining value of their contracts, a union concession made last December.
It will be an incredibly lopsided victory for the owners.
Legace said he would support the union it if continued to take a strong stance. But since the NHLPA is poised to surrender, Legace wonders why it didn't accept better deals that were offered last winter, when half of the season could have been salvaged.
``If we're going to give up all this now, why wasn't the union smart enough to get a deal done sooner, instead of saying, `Screw you,' (to the owners) the whole time?'' Legace said. ``I lost $1.3 million (his salary last season). What was the purpose?
"We hurt businesses downtown, we hurt fans, we hurt everybody -- for nothing. I feel bad for those people,'' Legace added. ``I could understand if we were still sticking to a cause. What reason did we sit out for? It doesn't make sense.''
NHLPA officials couldn't be reached for comment.
Legace said he recently spoke to a few teammates who are equally upset with the union. He doesn't know why it appears to be suddenly folding now.
``I wish we would have offered this deal last summer. Maybe (owners) would have been more generous,'' Legace said. ``Maybe negotiations would have taken only two weeks, like the NBA (which recently signed a new collective bargaining agreement).
``They (ticked) off all the owners and (the owners) went out to screw the players,'' Legace said of union leaders.
When Legace suggested months before the lockout began that a salary cap might not be the evil union officials were portraying it to be, NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow privately chastised him for undermining the union's efforts.
``They had the right intention. They made everyone buy into what they told us,'' Legace said. ``Now it seems like they're giving up everything just to start the season on time.''
Asked if Goodenow is to blame, Legace said, ``It's not just him, it's the whole (executive) committee.''
Lack of communication between union hierarchy and the rank and file has been a contentious issue since the lockout began on Sept. 15. It took a turn for the worse in recent weeks, after Legace said the union shut down its secured Web site for players because of ``too many leaks.''
.... Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman will be among 36 players invited to the Canadian Olympic team's training camp, according to Sportsnet.
The Web site for the Canadian TV network also reported that Wings forwards Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby will attend the camp in Kelowna, British Columbia, from Aug. 17-20.
Yzerman indicated in February that he would like to return for another season, if the season started on time.
? 2005 Booth Newspapers. Used with permission