Our very own Jimmy Devellano – the Wings version of Joe Biden – spouted off today about the lockout and his boy Gary. You can't ever fault Jimmy D for being honest, but his words stung a bit. This is a great interview from IslandSportsNews. Let's start on his feelings towards Gary:
"I think it should be clear up front that Gary Bettman works for the owners, not the players, and he is now entering his 20th year doing this. The owners direct him on what to do. I was at the meetings last week and I'm here to tell you when there was a call to vote for the lockout, it was 30 to NONE in favour by the owners. So I ask you Scott, why is that Gary Bettman's fault and not the owners?"
I'll tell you why – because Gary might not force the owners, but he does guide them. Think board of directors style – the board listens to management's recommendations and then gives a vote on the subject – 98% of the time, they agree with management. The owners will listen to Gary's recommendatoins and stand behind him.
Hit the jump for a lot more from Jimmy D, including why Detroit didn't go after Weber and how the owners really feel about the players:
Jimmy then contiues with his feelings on why everyone in the media hates GB:
"I think perhaps in his early years as commissioner, he may of come across as arrogant and condescending, but probably not intentionally. For me, I deal with the media everyday, so I understand how he feels to be misquoted. They ask a lot of loaded questions and many of the same questions over and over in different ways, but he's a smart man who rolls with it and the bottom line is he only has to answer to the owners at the end of the day."
Jimmy, I can bet that you've never been misquoted in your life, because simply put, the writers don't have to. You're bat-sh!t crazy already and damn if that doesn't make for some good quotes.
So moving on, we all wondered why Illitch didn't give an offer to one bearded restricted free agent (at least I did) – turns out those who said Mike Illitch (or KH) didn't want to upset the apple cart were dead on:
If Weber gets this much, then another player gets less. Now does that mean it's right for another team to do that? My answer is this: They (Philadelphia) operated within the CBA and it's totally legit to do. Having said that, I will tell you there is an unwritten rule that you don't do that, but they did, and just like everything else in life, some people are great to deal with, some aren't. If you are asking me if it's right, I would say there is, again, an unwritten rule…we all know it in the NHL, but not everyone follows it."
And that sorta pisses me off. Either Kenny or Mike didn't want to piss anyone else off. That may be, but I think that's just bad business.
Finally, Jimmy D explains that the owners and player's partnership isn't one at all. I mean, take a look at this quote and tell me that this doesn't piss you off to no end:
"It's very complicated and way too much for the average Joe to understand, but having said that, I will tell you this: The owners can basically be viewed as the Ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle. The owners own the Ranch and allow the players to eat there. That's the way its always been and that the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren't going to let a union push them around. It's not going to happen."
Everyone made fun of the NFL players who claimed the league is a new form of slavery (and they well should have been, because, come on), but quotes like that certainly make you want to punch the owners in their stupid face. It's the owner's world and the players are just living in it. Sorta true, but wow.
Finally, what does Jimmy D think is the answer? Well, something damn near the owners original proposal of course.
"I'll make a suggestion Scott. Let the players take 43% and let the owners take 57%. Just reverse it from where it is now and let the owners run the rest of their business and manage their expenses. Now keep in mind this time around it's not just revenue sharing that is the issue. There are many, many more components at play here, from entry level contracts, years of service, insurance, etc. I mean a whole bucket load of disputes that are just as important for the owners to need to get a fair deal done."
"Yes, they are billionaires. Good on them, they deserve it, but they also make their employees millionaires. Not a bad trade off for a guy like Lucic getting what, 6 million dollars a year? I mean good on him too, but he should be grateful. Understand though that these players want for nothing…its first class this, first class that, meal allowances, travel money on the road, the whole shebang.
There's plenty more in the full interview. Jimmy D is certainly interesting, I know that.