Nov 30, 2012, 2:18 PM EDT
Depending who you ask, former player and NHLPA president Trevor Linden was either the hero that helped end the 2004-05 lockout, or a traitor.
Arguing for the former, here’s The Vancouver’s Sun Iain McIntyre:
He should have been honoured for saving the National Hockey League eight years ago, working through back channels to broker peace and build an exit lane from a destructive dispute that scuttled the 2004-05 season. Instead, Linden was vilified by some as the traitor who toppled NHL Players’ Association czar Bob Goodenow and “caved” to league owners, who got their salary cap.
Caved? Really? After a full season lost and no end in sight to the labour war? How many winters without the NHL needed to pass in Canada before it would have been honourable to devise a Plan B?
Not only did Linden, as the union president, get the NHL back on the ice, the NHLPA just about ran the table on contract items. The players’ “defeat” was so complete they collected $12 billion US in salaries over the life of a Collective Bargaining Agreement that enabled owners to generate record revenues and dramatically escalate the value of their franchises, as evidenced by Forbes’ current valuation of the Canucks at $342 million and the Toronto Maple Leafs at $1 billion.
And for the latter, The Vancouver Province’s Tony Gallagher:
The players are now feeling the consequences of the work of Trevor Linden and his henchmen, who stabbed their leadership in the back during the last tough lockout, taking the easy way out and letting Ted Saskin give the owners everything their hearts desired. Now the players have swallowed the salary cap, all the owners have to do now is get them to accept an increasingly lower percentage of the revenue every time a CBA expires.
Regardless of his legacy, Linden believes there’s a dramatic difference between the last lockout (the owners wanted a salary cap, the players didn’t) and the current one.
“It was a massive philosophical divide,” Linden said Thursday. “It was a huge philosophical divide on the economics of the game. … This isn’t.”
Linden’s role in the 2004-05 lockout is especially noteworthy today as the players consider the league’s offer to meet with owners without commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA leader Donald Fehr.
In January of 2005, Linden met with former Flames owner and NHL chairman of the board Harley Hotchkiss (without Bettman or then union executive director Bob Goodenow) in a last-ditch effort to save the season.
While the season was ultimately scrapped, the Linden-Hotchkiss relationship was considered a key factor in finally ending the dispute.
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 2
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 12
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 53
- Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal 25
- Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract 19
- ‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’ 16
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick 73
- Voynov takes plea, gets 90 days in jail plus probation 60
- Curtains on Broadway: Martin St. Louis calls it a career 36
- Discuss: Where’s the best fit for Alex Semin? 23
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)