Breaking Sports

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

nhl- Let's Be Fair

from Eric Duhatschek and the Toronto Globe and Mail (paid sub.), "I know the players want to play," said James Patrick who, at the age of 41, would have been the oldest player in the NHL last season, if there had in fact been a season. "I think the negotiating committee and (NHLPA executive director) Bob Goodenow are hearing a lot of players say, 'we do not want to sit out another year, get a deal done.' There's certainly that feeling.
"But I also think, (commissioner) Gary Bettman has to be somewhat fair. He has to say to them, 'look, this is a fair deal for the players and it's something you can take to them.' Because if Bettman tries to hardball them so hard, then Goodenow has no option but to play this out and see how it goes."
Patrick's argument makes sense on a lot of levels, notwithstanding the fact that if the NHLPA is battered into submission by the current negotiations, it will be difficult to get everybody to put on a smiling, happy face once they settle the dispute and try to sell the game again to an increasingly indifferent public.
"If they spoke that long over two days, I'm hoping something positive comes out of it," said Patrick, who would like to play again next season, assuming the Sabres want him back. "It seems that in the past, seven hours was as much as they could take of each other, sitting there, not getting anything done. These seem like they were 14-hour meetings, so that's a good thing."
It's a good thing if it leads to progress. It's a good thing if it leads to a settlement. It'll really be a good thing if they can negotiate some kind of agreement that leaves both sides smiling in the end. One wonders if, at this late stage in the deadlock, such a thing is even possible anymore.