Many of the Detroit Red Wings have been in town (Detroit) and practicing at the Troy Sports Center just in case something breaks in talks between the NHL Players’ Association and the owners. The players have been locked out since September 16 and the NHL just announced that games through December 14, including the All Star Game, have been cancelled.
It’s the third work stop[age under the watch of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. The last collective bargaining dispute wiped out all of the 2004-05 season. Red Wings forward Todd Bertuzzi shares the fear of many hockey fans about this season. ”I see us losing a year.” Bert realizes the damage that this is causing and opened up about it.
“Unfortunately, it’s going to take years to build back the revenue. It’s going to take a long time. These people are (ticked) right now. They’re not just — ‘I don’t care, I’ll come back,’ or whatever. Fans are (ticked) now. They’re getting to a point where they’re not even really paying attention anymore to what’s going on. They’re sick and tired of hearing the same (stuff) coming out of both sides’ mouths, and who can blame them? It’s frustrating.”
The two sides are supposed to get into a room this week to continue talks, but there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. There has been recent talk of the players’ union de-certifying thus allowing them to sue the owners individually claiming that owners have been negligent regarding existing contracts. But even if that happens, the lawsuits would simply clog the legal system, which Bertuzzi recognized.
“So players go after owners, we sue them — how long is that going to take? Four to five to six, seven months. So that means the season is gone. So if anything, it hurries up the process of ending this thing, so guys aren’t sitting around waiting to see what’s going to be next.”
The 2012-13 season has been unofficially endangered for quite some now, but when veteran players like Bertuzzi are talking publicly about it, the cancellation is edging closer to becoming official. And as the cancellation gets closer, so does retirement for Bertuzzi who will turn 38 in February.