June 13, 2011; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Mark Recchi (28) during game six of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden. The Bruins won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Recchi weighs in on current NHL/NHLPA talks

Retired Bruin  Marc Recchi has weighed in on the current NHL/NHLPA ‘negotiations’ ( I prefer to say owners acting as petulant children attempting to enforce irrational concessions down the throats of the players.) Recchi, who hung up the skates after the Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup Championship season, has seen all this before.  He had played for both the Montreal Canadiens and the Philadelphia Flyers in the diminished 1994-1995 season.  Mark also sat out the 2004-2005 season when negotiations led to the loss of the season. Sitting down with ESPNBoston, Recchi offered up his opinion on the current talks. “The players all learned a hard lesson, especially the last time around, and I think they know they can’t chance this again so they’re paying attention and the ones involved in talks are really staying informed,”  “That’s going to help, especially now when everyone else is getting scared about a lockout. I really think because of this we’ll all be OK and there will be a season.”

Recchi had been a memeber of the collective bargaining team during the 1994-95 shortened season. He saw the whole mess from the perspective from the players, and was rather direct with what his opinion was on the state of the owners.  “The owners don’t want another lockout either, but when it comes down to it, this whole process will be about them learning to save themselves from themselves,” offered Recchi. “You’ve got guys like Craig Leopold (owner, Minnesota Wild)crying broke a few months ago and then signing two 13-year contracts worth $98 million each. “They can’t and have never been able to help themselves. If they’re going to do that, they need to truly be willing to be partners and really want to fix whatever is hurting them. The players are happy with the way things are right now, but obviously they don’t want to lose a season so they’re willing to work with the owners. But it’s on the owners to reciprocate.”

Personally, when I read the first offer from the owners to the NHLPA, I was confused then furious.  I understand the owners want to see their share of money, but when you’re part of a collective bargaining agreeement…perhaps it’s not the best idea to toss out rediculous, if not insulting offers to the people who make your team a household name.

Thankfully, people like Recchi can be seen as a voice of rationality. “All that other stuff is important, of course, but that’s stuff they can iron out later, and remember this is just a first offer,”  “This is how negotiations work. You shoot for the moon and then come down. The owners did that and they know they’ll have to come down. They also know the players won’t go below 50/50. People are getting worried and up in arms over this, but this isn’t any surprise. The (NHL)PA had to know that was coming and now they will go from there.”

“Both sides realize we can’t afford another lockout,” Recchi told ESPNBoston.com. “The game has grown so much in the United States over the past six years since the last lockout. The Kings winning it all this year, Boston the year before and Chicago before that, so you won back those Original Six cities and it’s going so well now. So you have to believe, and based on talks I have had on both sides, everyone realizes how bad another lockout will be. That’s why I think we’ll be OK and they will find a solution and avoid that.”

The first response from the players will be coming down the pipe any day now, possibly as soon as tomorrow. I’m willing to wager that the players response will be nowhere near as controversial as the owners offer was.  Owners, you are the people who promote the sport by hiring talented people who will work hard for your organization. Those players serve the franchise. Those players put fans in the seats, and we fans buy an obscene amount of product in support of the franchise( last count for me was four jerseys, six hats, and a dozen plus assorted shirts).

My life has been better since hockey was introduced to my life. I have a whole new vista to explore with this amazing Bruins Nation community. I got a second family out of the sport.  We, the fan base support your club, because of what the players do for it. Owners, please remember this when you get the first respons from the players.  A lockout or shortened season would be devastating for the league.

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