One former NHL executive is not happy with what he has been seeing from both sides in the current NHL labour stoppage.
Larry Quinn, who was a former president, managing partner, and minority owner of the Buffalo Sabres, spoke to TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun on ESPN.com. Quinn commented on the current dispute and looked back to the lockout that cancelled the 2004-05 season.
"I really believe there's a deal to be made here," Quinn told ESPN.com. "And I'm shocked that given the money involved ... I mean, the person that gets hurt the most in this is the player. You've got a diminishing asset and, unlike the owners, everything they make is a profit and it cannot be replaced. That's just the nature of the beast. The fact that their limited livelihood would be jeopardized once again, something is just wrong. It makes you wonder what interests are being represented and why."
In particular, Quinn questions the direction that the players are being led in their negotiating strategy.
"No matter what system there is and no matter how much fear is instilled in the players about what the future is going to be, the future is that they're always going to make more money. Always; no matter what the system is," Quinn explained. "The proof is in the pudding from the last CBA that their salaries went up 30 percent, and that CBA was supposed to be the mother of all salary reductions.
"Given the fact they've got $3.3 billion in revenue, I believe instead of fighting each other all the time, if there was a clear collaborative effort between players and owners once and for all, that $3.3 billion could be $5 billion. The NHL needs a culture more like the NFL and less like MLB."
Quinn's disappointment in the process goes beyond the economic situation.
"As far as I can tell there has been no energy devoted in these negotiations to figuring out how to improve the game," Quinn said. "To me, the quality of the game and how it's played and how much entertainment it provides is the thing that makes everybody money. And it's the only thing that makes everybody money. And the people that are given the responsibility for running this game -- both sides -- have not been able to spend enough time on it. To me, that's the greatest tragedy of the whole thing."
With an 82-game season at risk and no current labour talks scheduled, the turmoil only seems to be getting worse.
"You know who I feel the worst for? It's the players," Quinn said. "I just see them getting hurt once again for no reason."