I've tried my hardest to keep lockout reports at bey here. I don't like being a pawn in a PR battle. At this point, I am ambivalent to either side of the negotiations. I just want hockey. However, I found myself in a situation I couldn't ignore.
With a group as large as the NHLPA, you're going to have differing opinions. The thing is, when the NHLPA trots out Sidney Crosby or another star player, all you hear is the same noise - it's 100 percent devotion to the PA and the owners are the big, mean bullies. Noise.
When one of the players step out of line and his express an opinion counter to the party line, like Roman Hamrlik, he is immediately chastised by other players as disloyal and is showered with veiled threats of ostracism within the locker room when play starts again. With that mob-mentality of a reaction, the players make themselves no better than Gary Bettman and his one million dollar fine on the owners practicing free speech.
On Friday night, I was given the opportunity stand with the big boys (press-wise) at the charity game featuring many current, former and new Ducks, some Kings and other randoms. The event was a little crazy, so we only had time to meet with three players before the event took place - Francois Beauchemin, Dustin Penner and Ryan Getzlaf. All three spoke candidly about their feelings on the lockout. All three had different responses, which I found fascinating.
This is a three post series. Each player will be given his own post to devoted to his responses published throughout Monday. These are direct quotes transcribed from my voice recorder. At the end of the quotes, I'll give a brief reaction.
First up, Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
Beauchemin's comment on the NHL's move towards litigation earlier in the day:
Yeah, it might, hopefully it won't be too long of a process. I don't really have anything to say about it. We let the lawyers take care of that.
Based on the class-action lawsuit filed, if he believes this will help push the negotiations forward:
We're going to find out in the future. We don't really know what their plans are. No one really knows. I hope so, but I guess we'll all find out soon.
On hopes of there being a season:
Uh, I don't know. It's pretty similar to what other sports have done before, so um, I don't really, can't really say anything about it right now.
On playing in a charity hockey game when he should be playing a season:
At this time of year, yeah, its, you want to do stuff like that in the summer time, but I mean we still have a month to go in my mind. Obviously something's got to happen in the next 30 days for us to play the season and hopefully it will.
Beauch was visibly uncomfortable with the questions posed by beat reporters on the lockout. He seemed detached from the entire negotiation process, like he's waiting for everyone else to get their act together, so he can play. He was the polar opposite of Penner and Getzlaf.