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Hockey Turns On Its Union Representation

Hockey will play, eh? Give a shit? Porn stars talked about having a union but now the NHL is turning on theres. After a year off the NHL gained nothing and lost their pucks in the process.

Los Angeles- Shortly after noon, the office phone rang.

“This is Sean Avery,” said the voice.

Sean Avery?

“Of the Los Angeles Kings,” said the voice.

The Los Angeles Kings?

“We were brainwashed,” he said. “And we’re sorry.”

And so a forgotten face tapped at a shuttered window Tuesday, the Kings’ tough guy calling to do something tough guys never do.

Admit defeat and ask forgiveness.

An NHL labor agreement ending a yearlong lockout will be announced soon – “a done deal,” Avery said – and the center wanted to send a most unusual message to hockey’s few remaining fans.

The players were wrong. The players were whipped. Blindly following labor leadership, the players were fools.A year ago, their mantra was “union.” They return crying “uncle.”

“We burned a year for nothing,” Avery said. “We didn’t win anything. We didn’t prove anything. We didn’t get anything. We wasted an entire season.”

The salary cap that the players claimed they would never accept? The proposed money ceiling that the players sacrificed a season trying to knock down? It’s here. And it’s low. Tautly, tauntingly low. It will be $38 million, roughly half of some teams’ most recent payrolls. It’s about $8 million less than the Kings’ most recent payroll. It’s about $14 million less than the Ducks’ most recent payroll.

It will include the 24% salary rollback that the players offered last winter.

So, hmm, let’s see…. Cut your salary in half, take out another quarter, then subtract a year of lost wages that will decrease further because of lost television revenue.

Sounds like longshoremen going on strike for better raincoats, and returning to work in plastic bags.

Sean Avery thinks, he sacrificed his $700,000 salary for this?

“We lost a whole season for nothing,” he said. “Absolutely nothing.”

The cap could have been as high as $42 million, and the season could have been played, but union leader Bob Goodenow persuaded the players to stand firm

“I am furious at Bob,” Avery said.

Heck, if they had listened to Avery, the cap could have been $50 million, an idea he publicly proposed at a meeting two years ago.

An idea that was summarily shot down.

“Bob thought he was bigger than he was,” Avery said. “Bob brainwashed players like me.”

Where was all this anger last winter, when players possibly could have drowned out Goodenow and saved the season?

“To be honest with you, most of us didn’t know what was going on,” Avery said. “Guys had no control over the situation. Guys were out there giving interviews and we didn’t know the real story. Bob embarrassed a lot of guys.”

Hockey players love fighting bigger fellas, but Avery said even they didn’t understand the size of their opponent.

“We underestimated how rich the owners were,” he said. “Nobody thought they would be willing to burn a season.”

He sighed. “They won. They beat us.”

Players also discounted the sensibilities of the fans.

“The fans get taken for granted, but, to them, a million dollars is a million dollars,” he said. “And we’re going to come out looking like crybabies and whiners.”

Indeed they did, a perception that Avery said he wants to change.

“The saddest thing that happened to me during the lockout was the two or three times that fans asked me what was going on,” he said. “I wished I could have apologized to them then. I apologize to them now.”

He hopes they will see the apology in the elimination of the red line for the purpose of a two-line pass.

“We’re going to relaunch the new NHL, a new game,” Avery said. “We’re going to turn it into a bit of a show.”

He also hopes they will hear the apology in the form of a new aggressiveness in hitting and marketing.

“We need to be the No. 1 show in town,” he said. “We need to be the hardest-working, baddest group of guys around.”

And their hands need to be flexible.

“We owe the fans everything, we need to get them back, we need to cross our fingers that they will come back,” he said.

Avery was so frustrated during the lockout, he skated in two places he never imagined.

For the Motor City Mechanics in a low-level United Hockey League.

And with 10-year-olds at a youth hockey practice.

“I’m skating around with these kids and thinking, I should be at Staples Center and they should be watching me,” said Avery, the tough guy humbled, his peers humiliated, their sport saved.

“Can you please tell all the fans that we’re sorry?” he said. “We’re really, really sorry.”

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