Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, who was in the negotiating room in New York when the lockout was settled Sunday, joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday morning to talk about the long-awaited end to the work stoppage.
Ference said he's been going through a range of emotions since the deal was reached.
Said Ference: "First, exhausted for sure. Last night's sleep didn't quite catch me up from this past week from New York City. But definitely relieved. In many ways, happy to be back playing, happy that the fans can actually come back and watch some hockey and can stop talking about boardroom chatter. And relieved also, because I saw how close it came I think from both sides to pulling the plug on the season. For that not to happen makes me relieved, because I can't possibly imagine what another lost year would have done to our sport."
Ference, who tweeted the news of the deal right after it happened, said the final agreement came without much fanfare.
"We used the mediator for the last few days pretty extensively," he said. "Up until the last probably six or eight volleys of proposals we actually used smaller groups -- a couple of players, like George Parros and Shane Doan went in and were taking the last couple final proposals. We pushed pretty hard around a few items, and [the owners' representatives] just kind of walked back in the room with smiles on their faces and said that they had accepted the last ones. So, it was pretty much just that. They made an announcement and everybody kind of looked at each other for a couple of seconds and that was it. That was that. We shook hands afterwards, though. We went over there and everyone said, 'Thank God this is over. Let's get back to the real thing.' "
Asked what the players achieved in the negotiations, Ference said it wasn't much.
"Well, if you look at the CBAs, the only thing better is the pension. And you get your own room on the road at a little younger age. In terms of winning, that's it," he said. "In today's world, everybody understood it's concessionary bargaining. You look at the other sports leagues and what's happened to them, you could say that there's certain aspects that we did better in compared to those guys. But compared to the old world that we played under, it was all give. That was the only possible way to play hockey, to have hockey, in our view, to save the season, and I think save the sport to a certain degree. That was the only way it was getting done."
Added Ference: "I think everybody was educated enough to see the position that we're in, and to see the position that the league is in. You can sit there and paint a perfect picture for yourself of what a great CBA looks like. But at the end of the day, you have to realize that on their side, they're the owners, they're running the sport, they're running their business. They have a lot of leverage as well. It's like you can just say we want this, this and this. It just doesn't work that way unless you want to go down the path -- we coined it the nuclear option -- and decertify and go through the courts and what-not. The mess you create then in some players' eyes was worth it. But in a lot of guys' eyes you destroy the sport in the process."
Ference said there wasn't one major concession by the players, because they had that during the last lockout when they gave in to a salary cap.
"The system doesn't change dramatically," Ference said. "The numbers change, but … I don't know, I don't think you can point to one thing. It's not a drastically different system. It's just different numbers."
Despite his conciliatory tone, Ference said the players did well by bringing in veteran negotiator Donald Fehr.
"It was the smartest move we've ever done. Without a doubt," he said. "Every player that went to the meetings and was involved, every staff member would say the same thing a thousand times over. Obviously I'm biased, because I helped get rid of the last guy. But I couldn't imagine where we'd be if we didn't make that change and we didn't have Don Fehr. Make no bones about, it's a a tough, tough negotiating partner on the other side. To have the experience not only of Fehr but ask of the people surrounding him -- the economists, his brother, the other labor lawyers that have been in those rooms, whether it's with sports unions or auto workers or hotel workers -- just the experience of closing deals, of negotiating, was priceless."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On angry reaction from fans: "We hear the fans, definitely, say, 'Just take the deal. Just start playing already.' But I think you have to realize, even up to a couple of days ago, if you just take the deal you're basically selling out a lot of young guys that don't even have a voice in their union yet. So, you're weighing those concerns and you're trying to get it done. You've got to believe us that we want to play as bad as anybody. It kills us not to be out there. That's obviously why athletes get locked out, is because it's an extremely good negotiating tactic to make people that love what they do not be able to do it.
"So, we get it. We get how everybody was mad. I guess all you can really do is not patronize them and not just say thanks and hope it's all right. I think everybody understands that we just have to go out there and put a good product out and try to make people proud, and not pretend that this wasn't awful. Everybody knows it was awful."
On what the league should do for the fans: "I don't know what they'd do. I hope there's people that are smarter than me that can come up with something to really satisfy some people that were hurt. I know as players the best thing we can do, like I said, is play good hockey. No. 1, that's what people want. I think they would rather have guys playing their hearts out than a gift."
On the proposed shortened season: "It will be crazy, definitely. It's just a concentration of games, and we're staying out East the whole time, so you're always playing against your rivals, which makes it great. And talking to guys that went through it the last shortened season guys like Cam [Neely] and some of the other players that were playing back then, they said it was awesome. As far as the work stoppage, it was just as awful and all those things. But once you got into the season they said it was an absolute sprint and a bit chaotic. You could definitely see that this time, with some guys playing in Europe and some guys just practicing and some guys probably not taking great care of themselves. It will be chaos, that first little bit of games."
On goalie Tim Thomas, who has said he is taking a sabbatical from the sport this season: "I don't think anybody expects him back."
Tom Brady joined the show to discuss the win over the Steelers and Roger Goodell's handling of domestic violence cases.
In the final hour of the show, Glenn and Fred recap some of the big stories in the NFL from this Sunday. They also react to post game comments from Coach Belichick and Rob Gronkowski
Ordway and Smerlas break down the Patriots victory on the road in PIttsburgh. In this hour they talk about the Pats success running the ball, and try to figure out what exactly is going wrong with kicker Stephen Gostkowski
We preview the 2016-2017 Celtics with Danny Ainge on opening night.
Sam Packard is joined by Celtics 2nd Round draft pick Abdel Nader to discuss his path to the the NBA and how he plans to improve his game. Sam then talks to Player Development Coach Nick Friedman from Elite Skills Training, the pre-Draft camp Nader attended. Friedman also gives his opinion on the Celtics performance at summer league and the development of Jaylen Brown.
Isaiah Thomas talks to Glenn and Lou about why he loves Boston, the NBA Money Bump, oh, and some Durant guy
Chris and Rob talk with former MLB Infielder and current ESPN analyst Alex Cora. Alex talks about some of the moves he saw in the Red Sox-Indians ALDS, and talks about the core group of young players the Red Sox have
We wrap up the Sox season with our final weekly visit with Sox manager John Farrell, on the heels of the news that he will be back as Sox skipper for the 2017 season.
Red Sox Hall of Famer Joe Castiglione wraps up the 2016 Boston Red Sox season
Ken Laird chats with WEEI Bruins writer Ty Anderson about the B's loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night and what issues the team is fighting after a 3-4 start to the season
Ken Laird and new WEEI.com Bruins writer Ty Anderson discuss the state of the 2016 Bruins after a 3-3 start to the season.
Joey Mac joins Ken Laird on his Saturday show to discuss the David Backes addition and Loui Eriksson departure in NHL free agency
Mark Dondero of WPRI came in studio for the final hour and addressed his odd question to Bill Belichick.
Gerry, Kirk and Alex Reimer react to the Peter King interview on Dale and Holley.
Bryan Curtis of The Ringer joined Gerry and Kirk to discuss his story on Chris Mortensen.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian marvel at "Ramblin' Roger's" ability to not answer any questions during interviews. This time it was with Gary Myers on "Chalk Talk," where Gary's pointed and important questions are largely ignored by Goodell's rambling, ridiculous "Answers."
Glenn, Lou, and Christian discuss Rex Ryan's career, and why he is considered to be a "Good Coach." They also react to Mike Lombardi, Shannon Sharpe, and Skip Bayless' thoughts on the matter.
Glenn, Lou, and Christian talk about the Bills DB's Stephon Gilmore and Nickell Robey-Coleman saying that they'll retaliate if the Patriots run through their pre-game warm-ups. They also delve into the actual game.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Giants/Josh Brown situation in depth with Peter King from the MMQB and Sports Illustrated.
Inspired by the clip of Tom Brady and Big Ben showing each other love, we look at four other instances where Patriots and opponents are effusive in their praise of each other.
We close out the show with the best sound bites of the day
Kirk Minihane has taken Dave O'Brien to task during the entire baseball season. Kirk has critiqued O'Brien for a number of things over the season, his chemistry with Jerry Remy, his soliloguy at the start of the season, and of course accusing him of dying his hair. O'Brien defends some of his tactics of how he calls games and is adamant that he does not dye his hair.
Kirk Minihane, avid runner, talks to Charlie Engle about the passion of running, how running became an addiction that replaced drug related addictions, and Charlie's time in jail. Kirk and Charlie have had similar paths through life and they discuss how a passion for running changed their lives.
Kirk was scheduled to interview Jeff Pearlman but the connection sucked and we called a late audible and interrupted the K&C Post Show podcast. Kirk takes over the K&C podcast and turns into Enough About Me and an epic bitchfest ensues.
Ken & Curtis react to the Friday edition of Kirk & Callahan with Alex Reimer and Mark Dondero in studio on Dino's Casting Couch
Ken Laird chats with WEEI Bruins writer Ty Anderson about the B's loss to the Rangers on Wednesday night and what issues the team is fighting after a 3-4 start to the season.
Ken & Curtis break down a Kirk & Callahan Thursday show with Trenni in for the second straight day. A memorable Kirk vs. Callahan bitch fest is featured.
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