Former Erie Otters captain Brad Boyes, now a 7-year NHL veteran who signed a 1-year contract with the New York Islanders this past summer, shared his thoughts earlier this week on the lockout and the state of negotiations between the league’s owners and Players Association:
On when the season could start:
I honestly have no idea. I’m trying to stay as involved and up to date as I can. I’ve been to a few meetings. Hopefully I’m going to try to be at some meetings this week in New York to get a better sense of it. But to tell you I have an answer for that or anybody does, I’d think they’re lying. It’s pure speculation. I can’t even guess right now. I don’t even have a good guess. It could be a week. It could be two months. It all depends on where we’re at. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea where we’re at. But it depends on where the owners are at and what they want to do, how long they want to hold it for.
On possibly losing the whole season:
I don’t think we’re concerned about that right now. I think there is a deal to be had. It’s just a matter of both sides agreeing to it. We’ve got to prepare for the worst obviously. But right now, it’s trying to get that deal done. I think there is some optimism, but again when is that going to happen. Nobody really knows.
On the negotiations:
You’re going to come to a resolution at some point anyway. It just depends on when (both sides) are willing to give in. If that’s the point, and we both know when that point is, then obviously we could have gotten the deal months ago hypothetically. You can always get the deal done if they’ll accept what we’re offering or we’re willing to accept what they offer. But at this point, we’re not doing that. We don’t believe it’s a fair deal. As a player, until the owners are willing to accept a fair deal that works for both sides and not just the owners, then we’re going to be sitting here for awhile. It’s tough. It’s not to say it’s in the owners’ hands. But they are theoretically the ones with the power. They’re the ones that control whether we play or not. I think the proposals that we’ve given have been very forward thinking and frankly work for both sides. That’s what we’re willing to do. We’re just looking for a fair deal. We’re not trying to have the wool pulled over our eyes like last time (following the loss of the 2004-05 season). The players made huge concessions and the owners got what they wanted. Now they want what they want again. It’s a matter of figuring out the system -
On the lockout’s potential damage to the league:
I think there’s at least a sense that we’re not playing right now. We’re not getting on TV. You’ve got a massive media market (like New York City). We’re not taking advantage of it – I was reading something the other day that the same thing happened with the Rangers in ’94. The lockout in ’95, that took a lot of steam away from that momentum (from their Stanley Cup championship in 1994).
It will hurt. It’s just a matter of how much we’re willing to get those fans (back). You’ve got to come to a deal (so) that this stuff is not going to happen again. If we agree to the things that they’re proposing, five to seven years down the road it’s going to be the exact same thing. Itt’s just going to keep going over and over and perpetuate itself until there’s a system in place that’s good for both sides and is not going to continue to hurt the game and help both the big-market and small-market teams.
- Victor Fernandes