by pcoffey on 01/10/13 at 03:17 PM ET
Couple of thoughts on things now that the lawyers are packing their rhetoric and hopefully going home for a very long time.
Players: Please don't apologize. Just play. Hard. Every night. That's what the fans who are still paying top dollar want, expect and most importantly deserve after this fiasco.
Coaches: Please don't apologize. Rather, use you energy and smarts to come up with styles of play that take advantage of the talents on your rosters and make the game as wildly entertaining as possible. Let's not coach to the smallest common denominator and churn out crummy gameplans designs to slow and obstruct and take away the elements that make hockey a great sport. This is what the fans deserve after months of watching lawyers speak for the sport.
General managers: You too should keep the apologies to a minimum and work on enhancing your rosters to the highest level you can. After all this waiting and mind-numbing rhetoric from lawyers and PR hacks, that's what the fans are owned.
In other words folks, the NHL fans who remain deserve your best.
As for team owners, go away. Go sit in your luxury suites and don't talk. We don't want your apologies, promises or anything else. You won, you got what you wanted in the majority of this CBA. Go sit in the back room and count the money.
And spare us from any more of your "enlightened" comments.
Just go away.
After listening to the drivel out of Gary Bettman the other day, he needs to go away too, but rest assured, he won't have the decency or common sense to do it.
“To the players who were very clear they wanted to be on the ice and not negotiating labor contracts, to our partners who support the league financially and personally, and most importantly to our fans, who love and have missed NHL hockey, I’m sorry,” Bettman said in a prepared statement. “I know that an explanation or an apology will not erase the hard feelings that have built up over the past few months but I owe you an apology nevertheless.”
No, you owe us silence. Go away, stay out of sight. You have a very nice office in New York, stay in it. Do not take away from the game by showing up at arenas where the chorus of boos will be inevitable. And for the love of God, don't plan on presenting the Stanley Cup. Have the common decency to allow a Wayne Gretzky, a Gordie Howe or a Jean Beliveau be seen presenting the Cup from one champion to another. Spare us the forgettable speech and the drone of boos.
But this won't happen either, because the spin cycle has begun to get everything back the way it was.
“And that effort begins today. The players are ready to play their hearts out for you. The teams are preparing to welcome you back with open arms. The wait is just about over. Like all of you, we can’t wait to drop the puck.”
Gag me. You can't wait to start making money. That clearly has become the be-all and end-all for the suits in the suites.
And then Bettman talks about plans to win the fans back:
“That’s in the process of being worked on and will be announced at the appropriate time,” Bettman said. “Obviously, (the CBA) is still subject to ratification of the players, but there will be outreaches, campaigns and efforts that will be made clear as we get closer to dropping the puck.”
In other words, hold on to your wallets!
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About Iced Coffey
Phil Coffey has covered the NHL since 1981, most recently as the Senior Editorial Director of NHL.com. He spent over 11 years there.