The Malik Report
by George Malik on 11/21/12 at 07:18 PM ET
I'm still working through a depressive episode to come back to work and cover what seems more likely than not to be a second "NHL season that wasn't." Red Wings forward Danny Cleary attended the NHL and NHLPA's meetings in New York today, and he delivered some bummerific commentary to the Free Press's Helene St. James when discussing the NHL's out-of-hand dismissal of the NHLPA's CBA proposal:
After attending today’s afternoon session in New York, Cleary told the Free Press, "it didn't go well. We pretty much agreed on everything, except stuff that matters. A lot of players today are extremely upset about this."
NHL owners and the players have been at odds over a new collective bargaining agreement since Sept. 16. More than 300 games already have been cancelled, including the Winter Classic scheduled for Jan. 1 between the Wings and Toronto.
Any chance of an early December start hinged on reaching an accord this week. The sides may meet again Friday, but the latest meeting revealed the two are still on opposite sides of a sizable chasm.
"As players, the word would be: Frustrated, disappointed," Cleary said. He was at the meetings as a player representative. "It's just, it seems almost after every proposal, we haven't gotten anything on our side, and we've continually moved towards them. I think as players, we really felt that we've come a long way. They just didn't budge on the bigger issues with us. It seems like a lot of give from players, and all the taking is on their side."
Asked if it feels like NHL wants players to give up everything, Cleary replied, "It's not what it feels like, it's what it is."
The PA delivered a five-year proposal in the morning; by afternoon, the NHL had deemed it untenable.
I care far too much about the Red Wings' players, prospects, coaches, management and yes, the owners who approved this third lockout to walk away from the team I've followed since 1991. The people who make up the Red Wings are, by and large, remarkably good people, and that's the only reason that I haven't walked away from the game.
But I'm beginning to think that such loyalty speaks poorly of the mental health of anyone who follows this sport. This third owners' lockout is so completely unnecessary, so completely useless, and Gary Bettman, Bill Daly and the Board of Governors' pursuit of total victory through total war--after already scuttling a season to write a dream-CBA that isn't idiot-proofed enough or "fair" enough for the people who have signed the checks they no longer want to pay in full to the "talent" that brings fans to rinks charging supply-and-demand versus salaries-vs-expenditures prices for tickets...
And I don't know whether the league truly understands how thoroughly it's f***ing with the hearts and minds of the sport's most ardent fans, or how much willingly-spent money, time, energy and faith in the game are going up in flames as we march toward the inevitable cancelation of the 2012-2013 season.
I'll be back as soon as I can, but it appears that this beleagured blogger is working very hard to come back and grieve another lost season with his friends.
That reality might have been different if the NHL had decided to play through negotiations--negotiations that couldn't truly begin until the NHL handed those 100,000+ pages of independently-audited books over to the PA on July 29th--but instead, Bettman, Daly and the Board decided that 0% of $3.3 billion was "more fair" than 43% of what would probably have been more money given that so many teams predictably raised ticket prices irrespective of their labor costs, and instead, those of us who care too much to walk away are faced with the prospect of a league that's intent upon nuking the village in order to save it for the third time over the last eighteen years and the second time over the past eight seasons...
And as you and I already know, the billionaires who are trying to shake down millionaires "at all costs" are truly screwing over their fans, their business partners, their sponsors, and, most importantly, the millions of people who depend on 41 NHL games' worth of in-rink and out-of-rink spending to pay their bills.
That's incredibly depressing.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.