Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Former Wing Sean Avery: "We Were Brainwashed"

The next player to bash Bob Goodenow and the NHLPA, Sean Avery:

"We were brainwashed. We burned a year for nothing. We didn't win anything. We didn't prove anything. We didn't get anything. We wasted an entire season...I am furious at Bob (Goodenow). Bob thought he was bigger than he was. Bob brainwashed players like me...To be honest with you, most of us didn't know what was going on. Guys had no control over the situation. Guys were out there giving interviews and we didn't know the real story. Bob embarrassed a lot of guys. We underestimated how rich the owners were. Nobody thought they would be willing to burn a season. They won. They beat us. The saddest thing that happened to me during the lockout was the two or three times that fans asked me what was going on. I wished I could have apologized to them then. I apologize to them now. We owe the fans everything, we need to get them back, we need to cross our fingers that they will come back...Can you please tell all the fans that we're sorry? We're really, really sorry."

Bill Plaschke of the LA Times first broke this story, after receiving a call from Avery yesterday afternoon to express his regret and frustration with NHLPA leadership. I think all sane players should be angry at the NHLPA leadership, and coming out like this is only going to win back the support of a lot of fans. No matter what ratio of fault existed between the sides for the lockout, the players are going to take a beating in the coming weeks. Bob Goodenow will likely re-sign or be forced out by the players. I have a hard time buying that the players "were brainwashed" when most every NHL fan knew this was coming and that it was inevitable for the NHL to win this time around. So the players either had no grasp of reality or stayed silent for fear that the NHLPA Enforcers would show up with bats on their doorstep. And, considering that most every player who spoke out against leadership during the lockout retracted their statements soon after, the latter is a likely reason why the lockout didn't end in February. Sure, some were brainwashed: the militant, hard-liners probably are still eating up Goodenow's message. But I have a hard time believing guys didn't doubt Goodenow until last week. So I blame those players for letting the owners drive off that cliff when we all saw it coming and knew they were crazy enough to do it. I encourage more players to come out and speak against the NHLPA, not because I enjoy seeing them at the low-point of total defeat, but because it will help win back the fans who want to think "hey, he's one of us now!"


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