Patrick Marleau's a pretty unassuming guy. He's also a great team guy, willing to make a personal sacrifice like giving up the C for his team. Also, he's the bane of Jeremy Roenick's existence, so that's another plus. Marleau hasn't said too much about the NHL Lockout, but with the league cancelling all games through November 30th, he came out with a statement today that's been overlooked, but is a PR bombshell for the NHL if it's true.
In a text message sent to radio host Josh Rimer, Marleau said this:
"The league had these games canceled already in the summer. They are just releasing that info now," Marleau texted Rimer. "Every time we move closer, they pull further away."
It doesn't take much to read into what this might mean. If the NHL was already planning on cutting games all the way in the summer, when the CBA bargaining was just beginning, in how much good faith were these negotiations entered in to? Did the league even intend to work with the players to get a CBA hammered out?
Obviously, the league understood that their first CBA proposal would be shot down. Their second CBA proposal was better, but the players had their own ideas, and instead of looking at them and trying to compromise, the league shot all three CBA drafts down in ten minutes. The league was never planning on working with players; their "my way or the highway" attitude was already firmly in place. The recent denial of the NHLPA's offers was just a more public airing of it.
If the league wasn't planning on working with the NHLPA on the CBA, this also says a lot regarding the owners and the contracts that they were throwing about with abandon. One could possibly see it as proof that they really didn't want to honor the deals that they signed the players to. After all, if the league figured that they were going to cancel games until they got what they wanted, why not sign players to those contracts?