You can add a couple of Rangers legends to the list of people who are annoyed with what is going on right now in the hockey world. Andrew Kahn of Newsday reports that, at an event at Madison Square Garden earlier today, both Brian Leetch and Rod Gilbert expressed their frustration with the current NHL lockout. And so on a day when the NHL season was supposed to begin, we instead get to hear its former icons air their displeasure in the fact that we're in yet another lockout.
Leetch noted how the 2004-2005 NHL lockout seems almost for nothing, given that we are now more or less in the same situation only eight years later.
"We lost a whole year last time before we came to an agreement, and now the agreement's up and we're back in the same spot… As a guy who was part of losing a whole year of his career and as a guy who is more of a fan now I find it disappointing."
An excellent point by Leetch; a full year of players' careers is at risk. Could one year lost be the difference between Henrik Lundqvist winning enough games to become the franchise's all-time leader? Could Rick Nash have broken Jagr's team record of most goals in a season? What teams could end a playoff drought and finally reach the postseason? Could we be losing a season that Stamkos reached the 70 goal mark in? What players are we depriving of their first NHL All-Star Games? Or Vezina Trophies or Calder Trophies? What team could lose out on a Stanley Cup because of this? We're not just losing hockey games for fans to watch. We're losing history.
Rod Gilbert also had some comments of his own:
"Gilbert was in Toronto recently at a hockey event and said he spoke with NHL commissioner Garry Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr.
'They seemed like they were on the same page,' Gilbert said. 'But they just can't make a deal. I said, 'Why don't you split it and get it over with? You're doing damage to the fans now.'"
Rod Gilbert, a voice of reason. The NHL owners internally know already what concessions they're willing to give. The NHLPA knows what they're willing to give. If both sides just swallowed their pride I'm sure they could work out the minor details and we could have a season. I don't expect Bettman and Fehr to do anything other than release bland PR statements about trying to get a deal done, but if either of them were able to look Rod Gilbert in the face and insist that was the case then they should be embarrassed. Because nobody cares about the game of hockey more than Rod Gilbert. And he would spend every minute of every day making sure he was doing everything possible to end this lockout and get the best hockey league in the world functioning again instead of wasting his time in a PR battle.
I need a beer.
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