Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/20/05 at 01:05 AM ET
from ESPN, It's true. And most players (unless of course they play in Boston or perhaps Chicago) have few issues with their general managers or owners.
Players in Calgary didn't go to war for 301 days with GM Darryl Sutter or Ken King and the rest of the Flames' ownership group. Nor did the Flyers watch an entire season scuttled because they have issues with GM Bob Clarke or owner Ed Snider. They went to war with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the gray, faceless institution known simply as "ownership."
Given that, it's going to be a lot more palatable going back to work for these GMs and their owners, and going out into the communities on their behalf, trying to repair a crumbling foundation in their cities.
"I don't think it's going to be a difficult task," veteran netminder Olaf Kolzig said. "There are 700 players. There's going to be some grumbling. There's going to be some questions that need to be answered. But the bottom line is we need to get the game back on track as opposed to playing the blame game. I'm excited to get going.
"This is a time to start promoting the game again and not dwell on what happened last year."
In the cities where the majority of players share this sentiment, the transition from the pummeled to the partners will be easier.
For others, however, the sting of the lockout will be more difficult to ease. For some players, the notion of a partnership will forever be alien. They will see the $39 million salary cap as a cap on their potential, and they will merely exist within the framework, collecting their paychecks.
"Guys just won't play as hard," one agent predicted. "You can't see it, but you're going to feel it, you're going to sense it.
"There has to be something that drives everybody. It should be winning."
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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