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Roenick goes overboard
Sinking ship leaves few options
6/28/05 - by Mike Lee

I can't wait for the NHL and the NHLPA to settle their differences and back to playing hockey, but not for the reasons you might think. I'm looking forward to the day that Jeremy Roenick laces them up and carries the puck up the ice with his head down for the first time. You have to think that there are probably ten, fifteen, ah heck, call it a thousand NHLers out there just chomping at the bit to run Roenick right now.

The players and their union has been vilified (probably rightly so) for their antics during the past nine months, and as a reward they're now facing the acceptance of a deal that is exponentially worse than the one they could have signed last Winter. Now as they limp back to the game with their tails between their legs, Roenick shoots off his mouth and as a result increases the likelihood that more fans will be alienated from the game.

Yes, I understand the point Roenick was trying to make, and yes, ESPN did extract a thirty-second sound bite that probably misrepresented Roenick's primary message, but this is triage time Jeremy. Salt is not the first thing that comes to mind when I'm trying to figure out how to clean a wound. Roenick decided that the extra course, sea variety was his antiseptic of choice.

Roenick probably figured that he makes enough money and has established enough stature in the league, therefore he can shoot his mouth off as he sees fit. What he certainly is not equipped to handle is the marketing burden that the players now shoulder as a result of their hard line stance taken with the owners. He doesn't even come close to being qualified for that responsibility.

When the lockout dusts settles, second and third tier players will be the guys that take the biggest financial lumps. Any additional decline in revenue will force owners to cut into salary budgets, so those same lower tier players get to absorb the added penalty of feeling the additional pinch.

If I'm one of those players, I have to be wondering who made Jeremy Roenick my spokesman and why he's is making a bad situation worse by opening his mouth. So on top of my salary being cut by 30% to 50% because of the new salary cap, I also have to absorb the burden of an additional 10% decline in revenue? Or worse, I find myself unemployed because there's not enough money to go around?

If I'm one of those guys, I'm checking the news every hour on the hour to see a) if Roenick is still under contract with the Flyers, and b) when I'm playing the Flyers.

Whatever Roenick's intentions, his comments were unnecessary. If the NHLPA had any semblance of legitimate leadership, they'd be instructing its membership to keep the pie holes shut. Hockey players are not negotiators, marketing gurus or spin doctors, they're hockey players. The fact that the NHLPA has no control of what gets said by Roenick or any other part of the membership, just provides more indication that the union has been in disarray from the very beginning.

Roenick tried to diffuse the notion that hockey players are not spoiled little brats. He choice to prove that point by throwing a fit, taking his toys and going home did little to prove that the players are anything but overpaid brats.



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