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Don Cherry: I’ve never seen Bettman that livid

Dec 7, 2012, 5:25 PM EDT

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For a brief moment on Thursday, when NHLPA executive Donald Fehr was talking to the media, it sounded like this lockout might actually be in its final days. Then the mood went sour quickly and by the time NHL commissioner Gary Bettman started speaking, his description of “an emotional roller coaster” seemed like an understatement.

As Bettman outlined the owner’s position Thursday night, he seemed frustrated and furious over the events of the last few days. Unprecedentedly so by Bettman’s standards, according to Don Cherry.

“I have known Gary Bettman since he was named commissioner,” Cherry said. “I have never seen him so livid as he was tonight at the press conference. He was almost shaking. That was no act.”

The owners offered the players an additional $100 million in the hope that the players would concede to the NHL’s demands in three key areas: five-year player contract limits, a “longer the better” CBA, and compliance issues related to transitioning to a new agreement (e.g. buyouts, cap on escrow).

Rather than give the owners the yes or no answer they were looking for, the union attempted to make a counter-offer and the negotiations collapsed.

“There were owners who I’ll call doves who were against the hawks,” Cherry said. “The hawks said okay we’ll do it your way and the doves put an extra 100 million on the table and when the association said okay but… The doves turned into hawks themselves.

“I believe the hardliners said to the doves okay we did it your way and the association thinks we are weak.. Now we’ll do it our way.

“Looks like I will see a lot more of Marlies, Junior and Minor Midget games this year.”

Four of the six owners who came to New York City for this week’s talks issued statements following the negotiations collapse on Thursday.

“I am very disappointed and disillusioned,” Maple Leafs owner Larry Tanenbaum said. “Had I not experienced this process myself, I might not have believed it.”

It remains to be seen what the next move will be from either side, although presumably there will be another round of canceled games announced at some point.

  1. Joey Dumbfeld - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    lol man this is so done ! hahahahhaa

  2. tru2joelu4eva - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Am I the only one that thinks that Cherry’s gibberish becomes less coherent every time he’s featured on this website?

    • jhunter21 - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM


      Like it or not, Don Cherry knows more about hockey, business, and the ethics between the two than both you and I. He is directly linked to the process and the people involved, so he has a far greater understanding of what actually happens. You might not like what he has to say, and that’s fair, but he is where he is because he knows more than most people about the sport we all love.

      • badintent - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:05 PM

        I’ve never seen Don ‘s dog so livid. Don’s been feeding him veggie dogs.

  3. husky2score - Dec 7, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Well I’ve never seen an uglier suit that he’s wearing in that picture.

    Is that even a suit?

    • dcfan4life - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:17 PM

      “Is that even a suit?”

      Um., I…Dont…Know…

  4. somekat - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Instead of trying to make a deal, the PA tried to bleed every last concession they could. “we just want to play hockey” indeed

  5. chrisvegas - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Bettman should keep his emotions in check and act professional. This isn’t personal. This deal won’t get done this year with this guy in negotiations. His EGO gets in the way. Keep negotiating. What is wrong with offering counter offers? Keep trying to find a deal that both sides can agree to. Whining to the media ISN’T going to make things any better. All this guy does is push the sides apart every time there is a disagreement by crying to the media and acting like the Owners are the only ones trying to get a deal done. He is the worst GM in sports history. We will miss this season of hockey because of Bettman. It is no accident that there has been 3 lockouts in 20 years. The Players to this point have been the only ones to give anything up from this current CBA, the owners have not given in on anything. Stop blaming the players people and realize the owners have not made any real concessions.

    • stangz11 - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      He did. He was clearly upset, but he wasn’t name calling or anything. He just presented the NHL’s position on the offer. If it was me up there I would have been spewing venom. While he wasn’t “cool-headed” he definitely wasn’t unprofessional.

      What wasn’t professional about all this was Fehr coming out and holding that press conference as the NHL was reviewing the offer. He had the audacity to stand there and tell the fans and media that this lockout was drawing to a close when he didn’t know that himself. Heck, the players had just asked for mediation right before this. There was no reason to think this was close, and him going up there and lying was a blatant PR move. That is what we should be upset about!

      And last time I checked, the owners have moved quite a bit throughout these negotiations. They’ve moved off of salary arbitration demands, sought out a true 50-50 split, added money into the make-whole provision, etc. Players have moved equally as well. And now we hear that the players may have been ready to take the NHL offer, but Don Fehr re-entered the picture and told them to milk the owners for what they were worth. Who knows what would have happened, but, unfortunately, the NHLPA response was unacceptable and completely tore these negotiations to shreds.

    • dreadpiratesteve - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      The players were going to have to be the ones making the concessions going in to this lockout though. They had to know that. If they didn’t their representation did them a huge disservice and lied to their faces. 57% or HRR??? Are you !&%^#$# serious??? No other professional sport is NEAR that amount. They needed to be down at 50-50 all along. And after some gamesmanship by both sides they got there, but Fehr wants to come out a clear cut winner. That seems to be the problem. Since the players are going down from 57 to 50% he thinks that should be the end of it. The contract language MUST be in there or some owners will go right back to circumventing the rules and the cap like they did all along.

      Both sides are greedy toolboxes. The players are just unrealistic and uninformed greedy toolboxes.

  6. buffalo72 - Dec 7, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Love Grapes! Even the most outlandish things he utters, makes me laugh.

  7. blomfeld - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:30 PM


    Method acting is any of a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances. Though not all Method actors use the same approach, the “method” in Method acting usually refers to the practice, influenced by Constantin Stanislavski and created by Lee Strasberg, in which actors draw upon their own emotions and memories in their portrayals, aided by a set of exercises and practices including sense memory and affective memory. Method actors are often characterized as immersing themselves in their characters to the extent that they continue to portray them even offstage or off-camera for the duration of a project. However, this is a popular misconception. While some actors have employed this approach, it is generally not taught as part of the Method.


    The bottom line is that anyone who fell for Gary’s convincing performance yesterday, is also likely to believe that there exists a very real danger of the season being wiped out entirely (eg: 99% percent of you PHT posters here). You people are fools and you’re deserving of the sorrow which you’ve allowed yourselves to be immersed in, due to your blindness. Regardless, the fact remains that that we are going to have NHL hockey this year, whether you like it or not ! :)

    • windmiller4 - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      oh god hes still here… BTW nice article you decided to write instead of just simply stating your opinion. Even comes complete with a video!!

    • bruins1990 - Dec 7, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      You’re gonna have a serious case of foot in mouth disease when the season gets cancelled blom…

    • mmcneels81 - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:37 PM

      you’re off your f***ing rocker

  8. bleedingteal4life - Dec 7, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    Nice optimism, oh wait hold on a sec, there’s a knock at the door… Yes, who is it? Oh it’s a realist. What’s that you say? No hockey this year? Well then mr. Realist, you’re at the wrong house, because I already knew this weeks ago. Keep working your way around the neighborhood mr. Realist, and inform those who are living in a cloudy haze of ignorance. And remember, ignorance is bliss…

    • valoisvipers - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:56 PM

      Oh ye of little faith shall be condemned to eternal hockey.

    • badintent - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:12 PM

      Nice one ! Can’t wait till the “The Repo Man” reality TV show airs with some hockeypuck ‘s Porsche getting slammed on the flatbed with the Pitheads losing it.
      I ‘m looking forward to the car auction next month, should be some nice fastass cars to bid on.

  9. capesouth - Dec 7, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Actually liked seeing that emotion from Bettman. Show some passion for the situation and the sport.

    • joshuakorr - Dec 7, 2012 at 11:01 PM

      I liked seeing that emotion as well, but I’m pretty the passion was for ownership/money.

  10. dlk75150 - Dec 8, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    Good bye NHL! Hope the players and fehr enjoy their penniless future!

  11. dlk75150 - Dec 8, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Screw u fehr and players! Hope u r enjoying no pay! Good bye NHL!

  12. greatminnesotasportsmind - Dec 8, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Not only are we looking at losing the 2012-13 season but this will bleed into 2013-14. Just being real.

  13. id4joey - Dec 8, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Cherry has said nothing more than the run of the mill reporters at TSN have said. The next move is to cancel more games. The number of games that will be cancelled will be indicative of the owners mood. If it’s a week or 2, then they’re probably thinking there is a deal to be made, if it’s 4 weeks or more, then they’ve put a gun to the PAs head. Make or break time. Perhaps my friend valoisvipers was right when he wrote they should cancel a month’s worth of games.

    • valoisvipers - Dec 8, 2012 at 11:10 AM

      You are right on the money there Joey about the number games bring indicative of the owners mood. At the end of the last meeting, not even the “dove” owners looked like happy campers. Up to now, games being canceled were done out of necessity, the next cancellation might be punishment. Fehr and the boys want to play theatrical games, well I’m sure Bettman and the owners are no stranger to “The shock and awe theory” and might just cancel a months worth of games and put us on the “Brink” of losing the entire season. At least then everyone would know it’s now or nothing and that it’s time to talk turkey and no more BS.

  14. 8man - Dec 8, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    I think to have a realistic shot at a season and 48 games, play has to begin in January. You’d need at least two weeks to have training camps and pull it all together. Which means that if this isn’t solved in the next couple of weeks, if my math is right, there won’t be a season.

    I wonder if the players realize how close they are not playing at all this year. Fehr is a failure. The idea was to get the best deal possible AND play the game. Instead, he and some of the players have pissed off the owners. Big mistake sending players to tackle veteran businessmen.

    Maybe this is what the Mayans were referring to. The end of the NHL! :)

  15. csilojohnson - Dec 8, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    So tired of this pissing match.
    They keep this up there won’t be any market to return to.
    Fire Bettman

  16. truthhurts19 - Dec 9, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Jews are known to shake/quiver if their money is threatened.

  17. lrg51 - Dec 9, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    I eat, sleep and breathe hockey and have been since playing as a little kid 55+ years ago. Yeah, old school gamer and mentality… I know. I still skate and play in an adult league. My favorites go way back… missing Orr, Howe, Hull (the golden jet), Belaveau, Cheevers, Horton.. you get the idea.

    Bottom line… I am fed up with the players and the NHL. I was thinking this was all a circus until this week. Now its way out of hand.

    The losers… fans who love the game! The NHL is taking a hit and its not pretty.

    We’re hungry for the game but not stupid…

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