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Havlat on owners: “We’re not human in their eyes”

Sep 24, 2012, 9:00 AM EDT

San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings Getty Images

Many were shocked to hear Detroit Red Wings executive Jim Devellano refer to players as “cattle” and owners as “ranchers” in a sprawling interview that eventually netted him a whopping $250K fine.

San Jose Sharks winger Martin Havlat told his agent Allan Walsh that the comments are no surprise to him, though.

“We’re not shocked at being called ‘cattle,’” Havlat said. “I can tell you the players have been called a lot worse by some of the guys on the other side. It’s just never been reported publicly. I think it helps that the fans get to hear what we already know. We’re not humans in their eyes; we’re just pieces of meat that get to eat some grass for awhile.”

(Bonus points to Havlat for playing along with Devellano’s metaphor at the end there.)

David Shoalts has an interesting take on the fine: with all the bad PR the league is getting, perhaps dropping the hammer down on a team exec could score some point with fans?

In 2004-05, it was obvious a lot of NHL teams were in serious financial trouble so it was easy to paint the players as overpaid fat cats unwilling to save the league by agreeing to accept a salary cap.

Seven years later, it is just as easy for the players to point out the owners got their new system, were happily handing out hundred-million-dollar contracts one day and then pleading poverty the next.

Bettman needs to build at least some trust with the fans. Giving the appearance of coming down hard on one of his own will not hurt in that regard.

But how can one extend this idea to the ranchers/cattle analogy? Someone get Havlat on the horn.

  1. broadstbully33 - Sep 24, 2012 at 9:10 AM


  2. manchestermiracle - Sep 24, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Martin could go out and get a real job and then he’d know what every working stiff already knows: You are lucky to be considered an asset by a company owner and are usually treated as far less than that. The only difference is Havlat makes a whole hell of a lot more money. Well, used to make….

    • mpg44 - Sep 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      Well put …. Do these players think its any different in the real world . Only difference is the paycheck a. Welcome to the real world.

    • freneticgarfieldfan - Sep 24, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      was “working stiff” a Freudian slip, or not? 😉

  3. freneticgarfieldfan - Sep 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    “coming down hard on one of his own” – not quite correct.
    Devellano apparently said “…the players, and me included, are the cattle.”

    Beside, I felt some sarcasm/irony between the lines of the interview.

  4. blomfeld - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    “we’re just pieces of meat that get to eat some grass for awhile” …

    As an ardent LA Kings fan, I’ve always had a healthy respect for the San Jose Sharks. Well that just ended about three minutes ago when I read this idiot’s statement. Oh yes Mister Havlat … you poor, downtrodden and abused soul. People have absolutely no clue as to what you and your fellow millionaires are forced to endure. The “injustice” of it all is enough to make one shudder. And it goes without saying that people should be seriously “counting their lucky stars” that they themselves didn’t end up in this horrible line of work !

    • sjsharks66 - Sep 24, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      Yeah because Havlat has not gone through a lot throughout his career. You know all the injuries he has had. I’m pretty sure you have not been knocked out by Kronwall at your job.

      • windmiller4 - Sep 24, 2012 at 3:29 PM

        Trying to compare hockey to anything else is just stupid. The sport is a beast of its own, comparing it to someone elses job is incomprehensible, and once again, the bigshot kings moron is running his mouth. The men who play, coach, manage, or work in some capacity for this league put in more hours, and effort than you likely will ever put in for your job. I know there are alot of people out there who do have jobs that are difficult in their own capacity, but you can’t sit there behind your computer at your desk acting like Havlet or any other NHL’er has it easy.
        To Blomfeld: I’m sure you’re just doing what you do best and trying to take this out of context by calling him a poor abused soul. He simply said he’s been called alot worse by owners. But, good job not slipping some completely unrelated comment about luongo in there. I didn’t expect that out of you

      • blomfeld - Sep 24, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        @windmiller4: “baaa … baa … baaaaaaaaaa … baaaa … baaa … baaaaaaa”

        translation from Sheep to English: “back-up goalie for sale … asking only 46 million !”

  5. nyrangersfan - Sep 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    I don’t think he meant it that way. I think what he was trying to say was there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes between the owners, the NHL and the players, that they wouldn’t dare leak to the public. As he said, they’ve been called a lot worse.

  6. tackledummy1505 - Sep 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    I agree with Manchester. Look I would love being a Philadelphia Flyer making half a million. When is enough, enough. Contracts are getting outrageous in all sports, which only jacks up ticket prices. Season tickets are just becoming unbearable for one person to pay for. Now you have to join in with someone to buy them or you have to be apart of a company. Still it’s sad. I want this sport to grow and the only way it does that is through the league and the owners. Look at Crosby, signs for over 100 million dollars and he played a whopping 22 regular season games. Does he deserve that 57% of that lol. No of course not but like the one article read, “If Shero didn’t do the deal, someone else would’ve.” This is why we need a strict cap, that’s regulated every 3-5 years on the earning capacity of the league. Sorry but players come and go, the owners are the ones who have to invest in the future of this game, so give them a little bit.

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