Jaromir Jagr is not your typical hockey player. While most players are primarily focused on what takes place on the ice, Jagr is also deeply involved in the business side of the game as the owner of HC Kladno, a team in the Czech Extraliga.
Based on this business background, Jagr has a different opinion on the current NHL lockout and has voiced some strong opinions about how the NHL owners are handling the situation.
Jagr's comments initially appeared on the Czech site idnes.cz but were also discussed in the Edmonton Journal. His comments came at a time where several NHL players – Ovechkin, Kovalchuk, Krejci – have openly criticized the league and the league's owners for the current CBA negotiations. Jagr's honest comments were unique in the fact they came from someone that can see the situation from both sides of the table.
Jagr first commented on the idea that some NHL players (Ovechkin) believe the owners are "cheating" the players by trying to rollback existing contracts. While it's the belief of this blog to side with the players in this area (owners signed these deals, live with it), Jagr has a very different view. He won't label what the owners are trying to do as cheating, instead stating that the whole operation is "simply business". He understands that the owners are just trying to make as much money as possible. That same opinion – that owners just want to make money – has been expressed by other players. Where Jagr differs is that his comments were said out of understanding, not malice.
Next he commented on when he thinks the NHL will return, offering a somewhat optimistic view by stating the month of December is a decent bet. Jagr comments that the MLB playoffs and the NFL have a big impact on the NHL's first month, meaning the league won't be missing out on much financially if it's removed from the schedule.
The rest of Jagr's comments, which you can see here, deal with the fact he thinks Gary Bettman is closely listening to the owners and isn't trying to impose his own agenda on the negotiations. That point is pretty debatable as no one truly knows what is happening on that end of the table except for Gary Bettman, his henchmen and the owners involved.
Jagr's comments are refreshing. He eloquently expresses himself as a man that can see the situation from two different angles. His comments have cut through the PR clutter, the whining and the greed expressed from other players. Jagr understands that while hockey is the main revenue source for the players, it isn't for the owners. Most owners make their real money doing other things. It's because of this that he believes that the owners make the rules and the players, himself included, must abide by them.
What do you think about Jagr's comments? Is he accurate in his opinions or is he disillusioned due to his ownership of a Czech team?