FRAMINGHAMThis might not exactly be a news flash, but NHL players apparently arent wild about being branded as cattle by NHL executives. That goes double during a time of labor strife.
In an interview with Island Sports News, Detroit Red Wings senior vice-president Jimmy Devellano made the following comments that earned him a 250,000 fine from the NHL.
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's 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 cattle comment begs the question as to when the last time anybody saw 20,000 excited people show up at a farm to watch a bunch of cows graze, but we digress.
Milan Lucic was polite, but rightfully put off, when he heard Devellano had singled him out, saying the he should be grateful hes making 6 million a year on his new contract. The Bs power forward, of course, agreed to a three-year, 18 million contract in the hours leading up to the Sept. 15 lockout date, and that clearly struck a chord with the well-respected Wings exec.
Devellano pointed to Lucic as the perfect example of an NHL player that should roll over and let the owners dictate whatever terms they like in CBA negotiations out of sheer appreciation for their contracts.
Yes, the owners are billionaires. Good on them, they deserve it, but they also make their employees millionaires. Not a bad trade off for a guy like Lucic getting what, 6 million dollars a year? said Devellano. I mean good on him too, but he should be grateful. Understand though that these players want for nothing . . . it's first class this, first class that, meal allowances, travel money on the road, the whole shebang. Offer sheets don't hurt the players one bit."
CSNNE.com caught up with Lucic on Monday morning making a visit to the Mary E. Stapleton Elementary School in Framingham for a question and answer session with the students sponsored by NMTW Community Credit Union. The Bs power forward had heard about Devellanos comments, and still couldnt quite understand why he had been singled out in a wide-ranging conversation with the candid Devellano.
"I guess I must be Grade A prime beef. I think were pretty good cattle if youre looking at it that way," Lucic said with a laugh. You definitely as a person dont like to be called cattle. Youd think people would treat you better than as just an animal. Obviously hes got his name on the Cup a lot of times. Im not going to say anything to disrespect him. But he said what he said and I kind of laughed at it. It is what it is.
He singled me out and I dont know where or why he even singled me out. For me from an athletes perspective you look at Devellano and what hes done in his hockey career, and respect what hes done for the game.
There were some eyebrows raised at the 6 million per year price tag on Lucics contract, and perhaps thats why Devellano went there with him. But Lucic is one of only three players that have accumulated 25 goals and 100 PIMs over each of the last two years, and hes still yet to hit his hockey prime at 24 years old.
After the school visit this morning Lucic was headed off to lunch with Celebrities for Charity Exec Cleon Daskalakis before an afternoon school visit in Lowell.
No word on if Lucic was going to skip eating a hamburger to retain solidarity with the rest of the cattle.