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Goodenow steps down


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Bob refused to ever negotiate.  He led the players down the exact wrong path - here they needed someone who would negotiate, when in 95 his tactics worked perfectly.  The players could've had this deal in January and gotten a half-season salary out of it. 

An 18-24 month lockout was a completely irrational plan.  There's just not going to be a magic pile of money that the owners were going to find in Year 2, and they weren't coming back to an NHL with a worse CBA.  Players don't have the kind of money to sit out two seasons and make that back over the course of a career - that is absolutely impossible.  This simple fact made capitulation the only course of action - and Goodenow's termination the only course of action.


Bob was leader of the Union, he represented the union. Goodenow was not the one bullying the players.

If the lockout had gone 18 months, the favour would have turned to the union, but the players decided they couldn't hold out for that long. Is it Goodenow's fault that the players folded?

His job was to represent the ideas of the players and to carry out the actions of the players. He did exactly that.

There were those that criticized him, but Goodenow followed the will of the majority.

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The hockey world just became a better place.  No all we need is that little fvcking weasel Bettman to go bye-bye's.


Couldn't agree more! Unfortunately, it's not going to happen.

Saskin is more likeable.

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It is his mistake then, for misreading the situation and maybe not informing the players enough about their situation.

The players have to be given some credit, as well as take some blame. They wanted no cap, but as soon as players realized they couldn't hold out much longer, Goodenow and the NHLPA came to terms. He may have miscalculated, but I don't think he failed to do his job, which was to represent the union.

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There is no way Goodenow can be defended. People are getting on the players for not holding out 18-24 months, but A - it was unrealistic to think the players would hold out for that long when they didn't hold out that long in '95 and no group of players has ever held out that long and B - Goodenow HIMSELF after whining about how the league was lying about their finances offered a 24% rollback, THEN offered a cap, the very thing the players had been fighting against.

Why should the players go along with the plan when the leader himself didn't go along with the plan? There were oh maybe five-ten players that spoke out before that who were quickly silenced by Goodenow's goon squad, the REAL revolution happened post-cap offer. That's when you saw the Iginla-Pronger-Esche faction break off and a number of other players speak out. Face it, Goodenow had NO Plan B, a fatally flawed Plan A and he did not even execute his Plan A well at all.

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If what (N)Єverson reports in his column re: the Goodenow buyout (he didn't resign, they bought him out, yes, at 67% of what his contract is worth) today is true, then then he really did lay it all out for the players. Because (N)Єverson reports that Goodenow told the NHLPA to be prepared for an 18-24 month lockout and he promised that around Christmas 2005 (not 2004, the first Christmas of the lockout, but the SECOND Christmas) the owners would come off their salary cap demand.

I still say he had no plan B as to what would happen if his own constituency decided they couldn't take it. And I don't think the courts were Plan B. He could never have won. If the idea was that the courts were just to tie everything up for long enough to make the owners capitulate, well, overall, he misread them.

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This is a look over Goodenow's tenure, the good and the bad. But what it does also present is how awful the last days must have been for him. To lose your mother in the middle of all that, while everything you fought for is being rejected (whether you think he was right or wrong) and your own troops turn on you, is too awful for me to contemplate.

However, I do have one request to make of the new Saskin regime, now that Goodenow is gone...decertify David Frost, immediately!!!


A legacy of being unappreciated



For the first and only moment in his 15-year reign as the intimidating, defiant boss of the NHL Players' Association, Bob Goodenow's composure cracked and the hockey world gained a fleeting glimpse of the man behind the iron mask.

Goodenow, in announcing his departure as executive director yesterday, revealed that during the final days last week before the ratification of his union's new collective bargaining agreement with the league, his mother had died.

"For a few days, I was a little preoccupied," he said, his voice breaking with emotion over a loss so intensely private only few were aware at the time.

Within moments, Goodenow had composed himself and continued with his matter-of-fact farewell press conference, sticking by his contention that he had not been shoved rudely out the door.

But a week after being forced to announce a concession-laden deal that went against everything he believed, Goodenow was essentially told by the players he had made rich that it was time for him to leave.

Fifteen years earlier, of course, he had been the beneficiary of a bloody mutiny against the disgraced Alan Eagleson and become only the second leader in the history of the NHL players' union, an organization created in 1967 to serve the interests of those who played for the old six-team National Hockey League, most of whom were Canadian-born and made less than $25,000 per season.

Yesterday, after years of being an inscrutable, tough-minded negotiator viewed by many as a bully in a suit and tie, he departed amidst a mutiny of his own, albeit one carried out in a more dignified, diplomatic fashion by the very same multinational group of players he had helped turn into multi-millionaires.

Goodenow, a native of Detroit, tried to sell his departure as simply an accelerated transition to his key lieutenant, Montreal-born lawyer Ted Saskin, but at best that was a partial truth.

It was Saskin, with Goodenow removed from much of the actual process, who had negotiated the guts of the new concession-laden labour agreement with league vice-president Bill Daly. Just as Daly was promoted to deputy NHL commissioner last week, so too was Saskin rewarded at the end of the agonizing, destructive process with his promotion yesterday.

Saskin, a father of four, including a set of triplets, immediately signalled a new philosophy for the union.

"We've got to be able to work more co-operatively (with the NHL) in the future," Saskin said yesterday.

So ended the Goodenow era, one in which player salaries increased an incredible 500 per cent and the players' union grew from a tiny operation on Maitland St. in downtown Toronto, run almost single-handedly by Eagleson, into a sophisticated, $1 billion business concern backed by a cadre of aggressive lawyers and labour specialists that outfoxed the league at every turn for more than a decade.

Last week, however, the final pen strokes were put on a new agreement that signalled an enormous defeat for the union, which was left in an awkward state of disharmony by the lockout and the new deal that includes a 24 per cent pay cut, a $39 million per-team salary cap and a host of major player concessions.

Goodenow tried once more yesterday, and without much conviction, to suggest he is supportive of the pact.

"I believe the agreement can and will work," said Goodenow, who left with an estimated three years left on his $2.5 million per year contract. "I don't believe it is a failure at all."

The contradiction of the Goodenow years will be that while he made the players wildly rich, the game seemed to become spiritually and creatively impoverished as he failed to develop a positive, mutually constructive working relationship with NHL owners and commissioner Gary Bettman.

Players went from earning an average of $276,000 per season to $1.8 million, but teams left Quebec City and Winnipeg, the union failed to provide constructive alternatives as the game slowed to a crawl, and players were increasingly viewed by the public as greedy and overpaid.

By last year, the union's public image had sunk to the point where the players were almost universally blamed for the lockout that destroyed the entire 2004-05 season, although it was the owners who had called the lockout and disastrously mismanaged the finances of the sport over the past decade.

In the end, the owners got the salary cap they wanted, and they got rid of Goodenow, a man many owners loathed.

If, as some suggest, Goodenow misread the determination of the owners to restructure their business, his more grievous error was that he fatally misread the appetite of his members for a long, costly labour struggle.

As the lockout stretched into December, it appeared Goodenow was solidly in command of the union, until he and the executive committee surprised many players by offering the stunning 24 per cent salary cut despite the fact the union had repeatedly disagreed with the notion that NHL teams were losing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Then, in January, after months of vowing to never accept a salary cap, Saskin and Daly emerged from a meeting in Niagara Falls, Ont., with the news the players were, suddenly, willing to consider a cap.

Again, many players were caught by surprise, and within a matter of days a group of players, including Jeremy Roenick and Chris Pronger, were trying to create a dynamic for a resolution by talking to league officials without Goodenow's authorization.

That didn't work, and neither did an aborted effort after Gary Bettman cancelled the season on Feb. 16 to use former union members Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux to broker a deal — a bizarre effort that left both Gretzky and Lemieux feeling as though they'd been used as pawns.

The final event that sealed Goodenow's fate, however, came at a spring meeting in Pebble Beach, Calif., when it is believed union president Trevor Linden, in effect, ordered Goodenow to either find a resolution that included a cap or remove himself from the negotiating process.

Insiders say Goodenow wasn't intimately involved in the talks over the final weeks, and many were surprised last week when he said publicly he had every intention of staying on as the union's executive director.

Despite having played the game to a high level, Goodenow was never able to effectively present himself as a hockey man and caretaker of the sport. He was so fiercely partisan in his approach and so dedicated to forcing salaries upwards that he was easily painted by owners as the root of all the NHL's problems.

He certainly cared about the players — enough that during the 310-day lockout, he didn't draw a paycheque. That he would lose this labour battle so badly and be forced out was unthinkable less than a year ago.

The late Carl Brewer once lamented that while he loved the game of hockey, often it didn't seem to love him back.

So, too, it seems, may be the legacy of Bob Goodenow.

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man... pride goeth before a fall --- I always have to remind myself of that. I get very confused about what's pride and ego and what is honor and integrity... :saddevil: I hoe it was people that made pride the deadly sin and not God --- 'cause I'm afraid I'd fry then :evilcry:

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