Monday night I was bumming around the hockey internets when I came across a similar post to something I’ve been reading for months. It said that a whole shwack of players flew to New York to take part in the latest rounds of CBA talks, and by “take part in,” I mean “probably sit in the room and listen.” (Though, Elliotte Friedman did share that Chris Campoli got into it with Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leopold on Friday (my thoughts at #1 here), so apparently they’re not limited to sitting in silence.)
The haggling will resume today, and there will likely be another shwack of players in attendance.
Monday’s meeting involved 18 players, according to the NHLPA – specifically Craig Adams, David Backes, Eric Brewer, Ryan Callahan, Dan Cleary, Mathieu Darche, Marian Gaborik, Josh Gorges, Ron Hainsey, Jeff Halpern,Shawn Horcoff, Vincent Lecavalier, Andy McDonald, Brooks Orpik, Brad Richards, Marc Staal, Martin St. Louis and Dan Winnik.
18 players. I don’t understand what the point of this is. Does the PA think having all those guys present is advantageous to making real progress?
I realize that the large majority of guys (though not all) probably just wear a suit, sit in the room and fidget, but do they need an entire NHL lineup? The response I saw the most on Twitter when I asked this same question last night was “It can’t hurt,” but I feel like that’s wrong. It can’t help.
As the old saying goes, too many cooks spoil the broth, and sometimes it’s best to leave the negotiating to the negotiators, much like it’s better to leave mechanic-ing to mechanics. I love that because Kevin Westgarth is intelligent (he went to a smart school!) people think it’s going to do some good having him involved.
Having a couple players in the room to make sure things are on the up-and-up works in my head, but I still can’t help but feel like a little privacy for those doing the deal would go a long way. Sometimes the people in charge have to say and do things the employees don’t love, that’s just a reality of business. Having the players present has to limit what the owners and PA leadership feels comfortable saying.
A smaller number of guys limits the amount of egos involved, and lord knows in situations like this where everyone wants to matter, wants to make the difference, keeping those numbers in check has to be a positive. Didn’t we only get back to the negotiating table when Bill Daly and Steve Fehr sat down together and talked solo?
I’m alright with “cooler heads” being involved – guys like Yzerman and Nieuwendyk. I’m okay with a guy like Brian Burke, who understands this stuff and is smart enough to contribute value being involved. And like I said – some players being there, I get. But an avalanche of NHLers makes no sense to me. Aside from “showing solidarity” (we know already, guys), what could they possibly bring to the table?