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NHL fines Red Wings for Devellano’s “cattle” comment

Sep 22, 2012, 11:47 AM EDT

Ken Holland, Jim Devellano Getty Images

Red Wings senior VP Jim Devellano caught the ire of the NHL and now his team will pay for it.

The NHL announced they’ve fined the Red Wings an undisclosed amount for comments made by Devellano in a recent interview. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly had this to say about the comments:

“The Detroit Red Wings’ organization and the League agree that the comments made by Mr. Devellano are neither appropriate, nor authorized, nor permissible under the League’s By-Laws,” Daly said. “Such comments are neither constructive nor helpful to the negotiations.”

In that interview, Devellano refers to the players as “cattle” and the owners as “ranchers” regarding the labor battle between the two sides.

“It’s very complicated and way too much for the average Joe to understand, but having said that, I will tell you this: The owners can basically be viewed as the Ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle,” Devellano said. “The owners own the Ranch and allow the players to eat there. That’s the way its always been and that the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren’t going to let a union push them around. It’s not going to happen.”

The league by-law Daly refers to says only he or Gary Bettman are allowed to speak on labor matters. Devellano’s point of view doesn’t do much to help keep peace in the situation and shows why they want to control who says what.

UPDATE (12:25 p.m. ET) : TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the fine may be as much as $250,000. That’s enough scratch to make sure no one else decides to speak out publicly.

  1. elemeno89 - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    must have said something somewhat correct to receive backlash from the league…

    • lexyb9 - Sep 22, 2012 at 5:24 PM

      Very much like NASCAR… The drivers speak the truth and get fined for it for Faux King Brain Dead France doesn’t like his itty bitty ego stepped on. I guess Buttman is the same.
      I’ve always found (in my past business life) no short man with a Napoleonic attitude likes the truth slapped in his face. (Cue the infamous Jack Nicholson line from ‘A Few Good Men’)
      Although I used to say about my past profession; “The owners/partners are the pimps and we worker bees are the prostitutes”.

  2. savior72 - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    So does that mean Bettman is the prison ward and the owners are just the guards?

    • lexyb9 - Sep 22, 2012 at 5:26 PM

      And the players are the B!tches for the guards while the warden watches where the guards shove the broom handles.

  3. jimw81 - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    NHL has to be performing the worst pr job ever. there goes your ‘unity’ among owners…

    • jimeejohnson - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM

      The league and Mitt “Rich” Romney’s campaign have a lot in common when it comes to public relations.

  4. mustbechris - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Hopefully Ed Snider himself fined him for complaining about the Flyers. Watch your tongue, big-mouthed old Red Wings front office guy

  5. blomfeld - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    “The cows will be back grazing again soon enough” …

    Devellano seems to be the first & only person from the management side who’s got the chutzpah to say it like it is. So in keeping with his “cattle-ranching” analogy, the situation is that the cows (players) have quite simply gorged on too much grass (revenue) and therefore the ranchers (owners) are seeking a reprieve in-order for their pastures to recover. The rotation of herd from “one field to another” is a basic technique in cattle-ranching and that’s “exactly” what’s happening here with this temporary work stoppage. As I’ve previously noted …

    “the fact of the matter is that for many owners, there’s “much” to be gained from this lockout. When you take the season in context, October and November are no doubt the two biggest “loss-making” months of all, where the majority of US based teams likely don’t even cover their “variable” costs (ie: player salaries, operational expenses, etc) let alone make a contribution towards “fixed” costs. And when that happens, basic economics will tell you that operations should and must cease immediately …

    so while this lockout is upsetting for the many fans, it makes perfect sense for the ones who are pulling the strings … the team owners. And people should not lose sight of the fact that there are far more “loss-making” US owners than there are “profit-making” Canadian owners. I’m personally convinced that what’s unfolding now was furtively agreed upon way back at the start of the year. And I predict that the season will commence in either late November or early December … just in time for the Christmas retail season, when little Johnny & Janey demand their new $300 hockey jerseys” …

    In the end, all will be well … :)

  6. mpg44 - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Hahahaha!!!!! Is this a sign of the NHL / owners group coming unglued or what.

  7. paledevil - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    I hear the word “owners” a lot Lets get it right Who are the owners … Without profiling them for this thread they are oilmen, media men, or multi sports guys(three or more club ownerships) Maybe 3 or 4 consumer based businessmen (meaning food or liquor lost cost, massive unit POS, distributing) A few I consider to be Mark Cuban types A few are living are living The North American dreams of course not being from North America… (wonder what the China man thinks about fake jerseys) I will however mention … they are decidedly old school George Bush types….
    Do they expect the fans to be so fed up that we will turn political by NOV….
    The veiled idea….. They are well schooled in the dark slide ruler arts.. 2 cents less a pizza 4 cents less a bottle = millions….. So this idea that the fans are doormats and the players cattle comes natural …. HOWEVER as I like to point out the players are not can never be conceived of as line workers in some factory.. They are not machines the cannot be automated. They are skilled ARTISANS doing something no one else can do ( skate backwards even).
    A daily owner profile would be nice ….. Google does not do the topic justice….

    • sheckyrimshot - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      also dude, chinaman is not the preferred nomenclature. asian american, please.

      • paledevil - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:12 PM

        Well lets say it how it is Mr Wang came to North America when he was 8 . From maxing out his credit cards for his first company… He amassed 9 billion ( If that aint the American dream what is?)
        The way he did it makes Romney look like a school kid (was going to say altar boy but lets keep Thomas out of it) His nickname was/is Atilla the hun reminiscent of the way he “raided” companies in hostile takeovers…
        He has had various legal difficulties with the state department and in the form of class actions suits In 2006 a Forbes article investigated why certain NHL franchises could remain profitable despite poor attendance and overall league un profitability. They found that several league owners underreported their cable broadcast revenue; they specifically accused Wang of excluding half of the $17 million paid to the Islanders for the 2003 cable broadcast season.
        He also states the NHL is a headache……
        Here is the best part His first business was teaching CEO types how to use the Internet How to choose the best software How to integrate…. a lol now back in 94 was information gold….
        To frost this little cake Philanthropy wise. He gives the most of any owner to family and children related charities

      • sheckyrimshot - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        Mr Wang is not the issue here dude. DONNY. YOU’RE OUT OF YOUR ELEMENT.

    • puckdog - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:44 PM

      Headshking on this one. Huh? Anybody heard of the KISS principle?

    • blomfeld - Sep 23, 2012 at 3:05 AM

      “They are skilled ARTISANS doing something no one else can do” ? …

      Sorry there friend, but these NHL’ers are nothing more than children trapped in grown men’s bodies, playing a “game” while being ridiculously over-paid to do so. Millions of people do what they do and in a few year’s time, they themselves will be made redundant by other children who can play the “game” even better. All professional sport today is grossly over-rated in terms of it’s real “net” contribution to the betterment of society. $197 million to Parise & Suter instead of building a new hospital or a new school ?

      • adlent - Sep 23, 2012 at 10:33 AM

        Tell everyone you know who watches hockey, goes to games, and buys merchandise and concessions to stop. Don’t blame the players for what they get paid. It is a multi-billion dollar industry, so they get paid accordingly. Otherwise you’d just have 30 rich owners getting obscenely richer.

      • jimeejohnson - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Yeah, but didn’t you know those filthy rich guys create jobs and boost the economy with their lavish spending? Whadya mean, “yeah, right”? You’re trying to tell me Captain Alzheimer’s Ronald Reagan was wrong, that wealth can’t trickle down when it’s hoarded in TAX FREE offshore bank accounts? Wealth concentrated in the hands of a few is just as necessary as….the British royalty: useful pawns for the rich depend on being subservient.

      • blomfeld - Sep 23, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        terrific comment Jimmy Johnson !

  8. capsfan19 - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    What about gary bettman with a slave master parallel?

  9. footballer4ever - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    “So does that mean Bettman is the prison ward and the owners are just the guards?”

    Or the owners are the pimps and the players are their biatches.
    Whatever the analogy you want to use, the players are getting screwed by their owners and the fans are just spectators to this filthy grsphic scenario.

  10. mountainmantride - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Play in Europe boys. Play in Europe. Then watch what the owners, umm ranchers, do then. No players of NHL caliber to play means no games, which means no revenue. No cows no milk.

  11. tealwithit - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Anybody else notice that he said “and myself included”? That part changes it from “the players are slaves of the owners” to “everyone who works under the owners are like cattle on their ranches.” Which was obviously a poor choice of words, especially considering the analogy doesn’t fit at all. He’s a smart guy, though, and he knows perfectly well the kind of damage one slip-up in the media can cause, so it’s really weird that he said it. Works out great for the players in their PR battle, though.

  12. xaf605 - Sep 22, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Its to bad that when someone just tells it like it is always gets backlash from it to bad more people dont have the balls to do it

  13. dannythebisforbeast - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    So the fans are the old lady going:


  14. irokkit - Sep 23, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Well, at least he said it. Kudos to him. For myself, i appreciate the candidness of am elder statesman. Taking into account his Quote, this makes the owners the wheels, Betman the road and the players the road kill!!

  15. irokkit - Sep 23, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    …oh, and the Fan can be classified as none other than the engine.

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