Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ian White called NHL commissioner Gary Bettman "an idiot" on Friday while speaking to USA Today after an informal skate.
White responded to Bettman requesting a two-week cooling off period from negotiating for a new collective bargaining agreement. The NHLPA and the league have widely disagreed over how to split hockey revenue since the latest CBA expired in September.
"I gotta be honest: I personally think he's an idiot," White said. "Since he's come in, I think he's done nothing but damage the game."
This is the third lockout during Bettman's tenure as commissioner. The last one cost the entire 2004-05 season.
So far, the latest work stoppage has cancelled all games thru November and more cancellations could be on the way next week.
"If you think of all the moves he's made," White said, "teams that are all struggling seem to be the teams that he put in places where there's not viable markets for hockey. Three work stoppages -- I don't know if he's in control of the owners or what he's saying, but I think it's only seven of the owners that have to agree on something to have something pass. You'd think it'd be at least 50 percent. It just doesn't seem like they're running a democratic process, if you will."
Even though Bettman wants to impose a two-week moratorium, NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr reportedly said Friday the players hope to meet with the league to continue talks next week.
"The whole process has just been frustrating," White said. "I think, just where we stand now, you'd think that we're close to making a deal if they're willing to come a little bit our way. It's something that could have been done even in the summer. So it's frustrating. There's just absolutely no need to be missing games and doing this kind of damage."
The league made $3.3 billion in revenue last season. The latest players' proposal reportedly would provide them with more than $1 billion more than a 50/50 split over the next five seasons.
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