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Recchi: NHL, players must sign CBA now and drop the puck

TSN.ca Staff with Boston Globe files

11/13/2012 12:20:59 PM

Almost two years removed from a storied playing career, Mark Recchi has some words of wisdom for both the NHL and NHL Players' Association as the lockout approaches Day 60.

"My advice," Recchi told Kevin Paul Dupont of The Boston Globe, "is that the longer it goes, the worse (the offer) is going to get (for the players)."

Recchi, 44, won three Stanley Cups and amassed 1,533 points over 22 NHL seasons - a career that was also marked by a 10-day player strike in 1992 and lockouts in 1994-95 and 2004-05.

"As far as the lockout goes and everything, I'm glad I'm not involved, not playing," he told The Globe.

As part owner of the WHL's Kamloops Blazers - his former junior team in his hometown - Recchi also understands the wants and needs at each side of the bargaining table. "Hey, I'm an owner, too, so I see both sides," he told The Globe. "We lose money on our team, and obviously that's not the same, the money's not nearly as significant as in the NHL, but the business dynamics are similar. We've lost money every year we've owned it."

And with no talks planned between the NHL and NHLPA as of Tuesday morning, Recchi believes the league's offers are going to get worse and that a deal has to be reached now.

"The longer they're out, the revenues are going to go down and down," he told The Boston Globe. "Corporate sponsors aren't going to be lining up...so there goes that money. The schedule isn't going to be 82 games, I don't think, at this point. That's more money lost. So, how are you going to get a better deal? Personally, I think the best time is now."

Recchi also told The Globe he believes the elements of a CBA agreement - stemming from the league's offer made in October - are on the table and that the players will come out with the benefits. "There's definitely a deal there," he told Kevin Paul Dupont. "Obviously, it has to be fitted. But okay, get it right, then sign the thing for 10 years, get back to playing and don't worry about it anymore. You don't want to go through this again in five or six years.

"But look what happened, the players always get their money. They're always going to get paid, no matter what. Look at that last deal. We ended up with the cap and everyone thought it was a bad deal. But it ended up great, right? No matter what the system is, or has been, the players get their money. No matter what the contract, the owners always find a way to pay them more. That's why I say, get a deal and get back in there...the money's always there."

Recchi also expressed his shock regarding the news three years ago that the players fired then-executive director Paul Kelly.

"A dark time," Recchi told The Globe. "And it has been frustrating to see how it's played out, obviously. If Paul had stayed on the job, I don't think you would have seen this happen. The two sides would have started talking long before, maybe a year sooner (in 2011), and not with two or three months to go before (the CBA) expired. There would have been something in place, absolutely. And now here they are, trying to get to 50 per cent and also trying to make everyone whole. Well, you know, with the escrow we paid, I know I wasn't made whole over the last few years I played. That's just the way it was and we accepted it."

Files from The Boston Globe were used for this report.