When the lockout began, Bob Goodenow made several comments basically stating that his union did not care what the fans thought. He wasnt interested in winning the PR battle, he said.
But, much like the insistance that the NHLPA would fight the salary cap to the death, time has revealed another truth: the players need the fans with them, not against them.
With that in mind, Canada's entry in the World Hockey Championships has a message for you:
"We arent greedy! Honest! No, we mean it!"
GM Steve Tambellini summed up this little PR stunt quite accurately:
"That's a very, very important aspect of what people should recognize," Team Canada GM Steve Tambellini said Sunday. "These are players that are not involved in club (NHL) issues right now, they have volunteered their time to play for their country."
What are you looking for, Steve, a hero cookie? We were always aware that these players arent getting paid to play in this tournament. They never have. Are we supposed to forget that the NHLPA's unwillingness to negotiate a CBA until the eve of the seasons cancellation because Dan Boyle has decided to play in this tournament despite the fact that, as he puts it: "We're not making a dime here"?
Are we supposed to simply forgive these players for robbing us of our pasttime this winter because they were willing to take a free trip to Europe without demanding some spending cash?
That the players felt the need to point out that they arent getting paid actually demonstrates just how out of touch with reality they are. Do they really expect us to salute them for doing what is expected of them?
Players dont go to these tournaments for the money. They never have. They go to represent their country. While I am sure Boyle, Tambellini and the rest of Team Canada are proud of themselves for not asking for more money, the fans are not going to be swayed.
If you want our respect, give us back our game.