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Felger and Massarotti were joined by former executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, Paul Kelly, to discuss the NHL Lockout.
With players signing overseas, what will it mean to the NHL? Could the lockout last the entire season, like Rick Nash said recently?
“I’ve seen that from a few different players, and clearly they’re talking to people inside of the union. You have to believe that that’s what they’re hearing from the leadership, and that’s not a good sign,” Kelly said. “I actually am a bit more optimistic. In 2004 and 2005, they were looking to make radical changes to the system, to impose the salary cap when there was none. This battle is all about money principally.
“Because it’s really more about dollars, it’s my view that sensible people ought to be able to come together and work this thing out and get this game back on the ice. Frankly, we were in a very good place, the on-ice product is as good as it’s ever been, you’ve got NBC, you’ve got good playoffs, you’ve got a great Winter Classic game coming up, and I just think it’s a shame to be missing games.”
Michael Felger asked Kelly if Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs’ hurt the owners’ stance in this negotiation by signing several players (Tyler Seguin, Brad Marchand, Milan Lucic) to long-term deals for big dollars just days before the lockout began?
“I’m sure Bill Daly and Gary Bettman were not happy to see some of those deals signed in the closing weeks,” Kelly said. “It’s obviously very hypocritical. They’re talking out of both sides of their mouth. It’s another example of owners and general managers really need restraints within a collective-bargaining agreement basically to protect themselves from themselves.”
So when is this lockout going to end?
“I say probably Thanksgiving and then it may take them a few weeks to get it revved up. I hope they’re skating by January 1,” Kelly said.