LOCKOUT: Day 63 – Merlot Men want progress!


April 19, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Roman Hamrlik (44) fights for the puck with Boston Bruins left wings Shawn Thornton (22) and Daniel Paille (20) in game four of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

Yup, the lockout continues.

It’s bad enough for all of us in the blogosphere when we don’t have hockey. It’s even worse knowing that the players you love could be hanging up their skates for good if the season gets cancelled. Shawn Thornton, resident pugilist and man about town talked last week about how he wanted to see his contract play out with him in a Bruins uniform. (And playing hockey too! Talk about being unreasonable.) This week he got to sit down with Joe Haggerty to voice his frustration over the latest of “Bettman’s Blunders”. The most current one is the league’s desire to take a two week break in the negotiations.  Thornton was as direct as a slap-shot to the face.

“I think we want to talk and they want to shut down talks. I think that speaks pretty high volumes of who wants to get it done, and who doesn’t. It’s unfortunate. It’s disappointing. It’s frustrating. I have every intention of going to Toronto if there were meetings this week, and they never happened. Hopefully they come around and want to negotiate. We’ve been pretty strong thus far and I expect that to continue. There are things that [the owners] want to take that we have to keep. I was at the meetings in New York and I thought we were a lot closer than we actually are. I’m still trying to be optimistic, but there’s still a lot of posturing going on. It’s way too late in this process to be posturing in my opinion. I’m trying to stay positive, but my hope is that we can negotiate in good faith.”

Shawn Thornton wasn’t the only one of the Merlot Men offering Haggerty their insights on how bizarre and disappointing the talks have become.  Daniel Paille also took the time to give Haggerty and the faithful of Bruins Nation a look from the inside regarding the talks. Paille affirmed the player’s commitment to be resolute in this lockout.  “We’ve already missed three pay checks. Is missing a fourth check really going to make a difference at this point? We’re committed to this, and to getting a fair deal for all players.”

Paille just doesn’t serve up shots and keep Thornton and (fellow Merlot Man) Gregory Campbell from killing people. He currently serves as the union rep for the Bruins and has spent a great deal of the summer and fall calling players around the globe to keep them up to date on the ugly grind of a negotiation. “Right now it’s a mental battle and it’s frustrating. But as players we realize to need to negotiate certain rights, and the owners should realize that as well. Until both sides come to terms with that there won’t be any agreement.”

Hey, I still say we just lock the NHL negotiators in a room with the Merlot line, toss in Lucic and Marchand for spice and see what happens. I’d dare say we’d have hockey by next week.